Hamas, Fatah sign deal on Palestinian reconciliation

Hamas, Fatah sign deal on Palestinian reconciliation

Further information will be announced at a noon news conference (10GMT) in Cairo, where unity talks between the rival factions began on Tuesday.

Al-Ahmad, who is also the head of Fatah delegation for the Cairo talks, said what was agreed upon two weeks ago under the auspices of Egypt is empowering the legitimate government to operate in accordance with its powers in accordance with the Basic Law in effect in the West Bank.

The Secretary-General also reiterated that the United Nations stands ready to continue working with Palestinian authorities and the region to support the Government in assuming its responsibilities in Gaza.

The agreement calls for Abbas's presidential guard to assume responsibility of the Rafah crossing on November 1, and for the full handover of administrative control of Gaza to the unity government to be completed by December 1. Thursday's signing came after two days of negotiations in the Egyptian capital on the governing of the Gaza Strip as part of the most serious effort to date to end the 10 year rift between the rival Palestinian groups.

According to the text of the agreement signed by both parties, Egypt mediated the deal in order to "achieve Palestinian unity in order to. establish an independent Palestinian state" in Gaza and the Israel-occupied West Bank.

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He added that sanctions taken by Abbas against Gaza will also soon be lifted.

He went on to say that Abbas planned to reverse all measures he had recently taken against the Gaza Strip, which since mid-2007 has been governed by Hamas.

Fatah negotiator Azzam al-Ahmed and Hamas' representative Saleh al-Arouri smiled and shook hands in a short ceremony presided over by Egypt's chief of intelligence, Khalid Fawzi.

Attempts at reconciliation in recent years fell apart.

"Israel will examine developments in the field and act accordingly", said a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office.

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