Hamas says talks with Egypt over reconciliation stuck
www.chinaview.cn 2009-11-02 21:39:11   Print

    by Saud Abu Ramadan

    GAZA, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- Officials of Islamic Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, announced on Monday that the talks between the movement and the Egyptian sponsor of the inter-Palestinian dialogue to achieve a reconciliation deal "are stuck."

    Salah el-Bardaweel, a Gaza-based Hamas leader, told reporters that the efforts to achieve inter-Palestinian reconciliation "are still suspended, while Hamas and Egypt have disconnected over achieving the reconciliation," saying that "there is nothing new in this respect."

    Last month, Egypt presented a drafted reconciliation pact to the Palestinian factions, including rival Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party. After a few days, Fatah announced that it accepted the pact, however, Hamas leaders said the pact has to be amended before the factions sign it.

    Al-Bardaweel denied earlier reports saying that Egypt has agreed to amend its proposal for achieving a Palestinian unity by issuing a new appendix taking the Islamic movement's reservations into consideration. Hamas said several clauses in the pact needed to be amended.

    Local Gaza-based news websites close to Hamas reported earlier on Monday that a majority among Hamas movement leaders still believe that there is a possibility to sign the reconciliation pact and agree on a date for holding the general legislative and presidential elections.

    Sources close to Hamas told the news websites that it does not rule out the possibility that there will be surprise within the coming few days over signing the reconciliation pact after Hamas and Egypt agreed to add an appendix to the draft of the pact that includes all Hamas notes and observations.

    Meanwhile, Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman said that the Egyptian-sponsored national Palestinian dialogue "was suspended and did not witness any new movement" since Cairo refused to accept Hamas' notes on an offer aimed at restoring the Palestinian unity.

    The Egyptian proposal calls for real inter-reconciliation and ending the current feuds between the two rival groups, Fatah and Hamas. Deploying 3000-men security forces in the Gaza Strip that will run the border crossing points is also part of the pact.

    The Egyptian pact also calls for holding the general elections on June 28, 2010. However, After Hamas movement showed hesitance signing the Egyptian drafted pact, Abbas issued a decree on Oct. 24, calling for holding the general elections on Jan. 24, which has become a constitutional merit.

    The sources that are close to Hamas told the news websites that if Fatah and Hamas sign the amended reconciliation pact, Abbas would issue another decree deciding that holding the elections will be postponed for another six months and will be held on June 28, 2010.

    Fatah-Hamas schism took place when the Islamic movement seized control of the impoverished enclave by force and routed pro-Abbas security forces in the summer of 2007. Egypt, which has been sponsoring a marathon dialogue between the two groups, wanted to end the rift as soon as possible.

    Meanwhile, Fatah central committee member Azzam el-Ahmed insisted that Fatah would only prefer to hold the general elections in the three major Palestinian territories: the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Hamas rejects holding the elections before reaching a reconciliation deal.

    "Fatah waits to hear from the Egyptian sponsor of the dialogue after the contacts to achieve reconciliation were suspended," said el-Ahmed, adding "We are waiting for the Egyptian position not Hamas position, because we have been waiting for a long time, and we need to get an answer soon."

    Palestinian observers expressed on Monday concerns that there will be a constitutional vacuum if a reconciliation deal is not reached between Fatah and Hamas and the elections are not held on time. El-Ahmed said, "I don't think there will be any constitutional or political vacuum."

    Meanwhile, Yasser al-Wadeya, representative of the Palestinian independent figures in the inter-dialogue told reporters that he and his group are holding intensive contacts in the West Bank and Gaza to overcome differences and reach a reconciliation agreement soon.

    "The independent figures are forming a series of proposals in order to get out of the current crisis of postponing the signing on the reconciliation pact," said al-Wadeya, adding "our contacts aim at restoring the efforts which were previously exerted to achieve the reconciliation."

Special Report: Palestine-Israel Conflicts         

Editor: Xiong Tong
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