Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Azzam al-Ahmed: Egypt Exerted Unprecedented Efforts towards Palestinian Reconciliation | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Hamas chief Ismail Hanieh shakes hands with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah. (AP)

Cairo – Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmed voiced his optimism that the latest round of Egypt-sponsored dialogue with the rival Hamas group would lead to an end to Palestinian division.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Egypt has made unprecedented efforts towards the reconciliation file due to the changing regional and international political stances.”

The dialogue between Fatah and Hamas kicked off in Cairo on Tuesday.

An informed source predicted to Asharq Al-Awsat that they will last two to three days.

Ahmed, who heads the Fatah delegation at the Cairo talks, revealed that one of his group’s priorities is enabling the Palestinian government to manage its affairs in Ramallah, Gaza and Khan Younes.

He explained however that this process will not take place overnight.

Hamas has meanwhile focused its energies on lifting Palestinian Authority (PA) “sanctions” against it in Gaza.

Hussam Badran, who is part of the Hamas delegation at the Cairo talks, said on Tuesday that the movement is keen on resolving the repercussions and negative effects of the division on Gaza.

“The Palestinians guarantee the achievement of the reconciliation. We are waiting for national factions to play their role to that end and we are communicating with all sides. We are prepared to listen to any criticism and advice,” he continued.

A Fatah official in Cairo, Samih Barzaq, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the “unprecedented” measures taken by the PA against Gaza employees will be lifted “very soon”.

The PA had in the past few months cut the salaries of several Gaza employees and sacked a number of others in an attempt to pressure Hamas to return the coastal strip back under the control of the Palestinian government.

Hamas had seized control of the Gaza Strip after armed clashes with Fatah in 2007.

Hamas had declared in September its readiness for reconciliation with Fatah in a bid to end the Palestinian division. This includes holding general elections.

Barzaq said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas will commit to the democratic results of the elections.

“No one inside or outside of the Palestinian territories can object to the results because whoever wins them will be a Palestinian and he would have won through the votes of his fellow citizens,” he stressed.

On Tuesday, the Palestinian cabinet held its annual meeting chaired by Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah during which it addressed his visit to Gaza last week.

The cabinet expressed its readiness to assume all duties in Gaza with the approval of concerned factions.