GAZA: Officials from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction and the rival Hamas group met in Gaza yesterday to discuss the make-up of a unity government they hope will end a seven-year schism.
Officials from the two groups said they planned to propose non-politically affiliated candidates for seats in a unity cabinet which will be tasked with preparing presidential and parliamentary elections after six months.
Azzam Al Ahmed, the senior Fatah official sent by Abbas from the West Bank, led the talks with Hamas’ delegation, headed by exiled Islamist leader Moussa Abu Marzouk.
Abbas announced plans for a unity government as a step towards Palestinian elections on April 23. Many past attempts to heal the rift between Fatah, that dominates the Palestinian Authority-run West Bank, and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, have failed.
Palestinian sources in Ramallah, the seat of Abbas’s administration, said they wanted the list of names to be ready by Thursday when he meets US Secretary of State John Kerry in London to discuss the stalled peace talks with Israel.