Fatah, Hamas begin reconciliation talks in Cairo 

PNN/ Cairo/

Representatives from the Fatah and Hamas parties today began the reconciliation talks in the Egyptian capital, a week after the Fatah ruled Palestinian Authority visited the Hamas controlled Gaza strip, in order to start the process.

The meetings in Cairo are centred around implementing the 2011 Cairo Agreement, which calls on ending the political division and the achievement of national unity.

Leading the delegations are the deputy head of Hamas’s political office, Saleh al-Arouri, and a member of the Fatah Central Committee, Azzam al-Ahmad.

According to Al-Jazeera, Hamas member in the West Bank, Hassan Yousef, said that Israel blocked a delegation from travelling to Cairo through Jordan to participate in the talks.

Khalil al-Haya, a member of the Hamas delegation, said the mission would discuss forming a national unity government with the participation of all Palestinian political parties and preparing for legislative, presidential and national council elections,  and that the negotiations would focus on ending Palestinian division “to confront intransigence and the Israeli project”, Al-Jazeera added.

Fatah spokesman Osama al-Qawasmeh told the official PA radio that the Egyptian-brokered talks would stretch for three days and would focus on enabling the national consensus government to exercise its political, security and economic functions in Gaza.

Other issues on the agenda include Gaza’s electricity crisis, the salaries of PA employees in the coastal enclave, security and the administration of border crossings.

Over the last few months, Hamas has been under heavy pressure from PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ measures against Gaza, aimed at pressuring Hamas to relinquish control of the territory. Punitive measures included cutting the salaries of PA employees living in Gaza and requesting Israel to reduce the electricity supply to the territory.