GAZA, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Hamas, the ruling authority in the Gaza Strip, agreed on Sunday to intensify discussions with the Fatah movement in an effort to promote reconciliation between the two competing Palestinian groups.
Following a meeting with a visiting senior Fatah delegation in Gaza City, Hamas and Fatah leaders announced that they will work jointly to prepare a reconciliation deal that will end their seven- year political division.
Nabil Shaath, a member of Fatah's central committee, told reporters after the meeting that ending the split by forming a unity government and holding fair elections is a necessity for many Palestinians.
He also urged Palestinians to make national unity a reality on the ground.
Fatah and Hamas have reached two reconciliation agreements under Egyptian and Qatari auspices in 2011 and 2012. But both deals have been unimplemented so far due to differences over security and restructuring the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Liberation Organization.
Meanwhile, Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya told reporters that his movement is keen to achieve national unity and will take concrete steps to bridge the gaps between the two parties.
Al-Hayya also expressed support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for refusing Israeli and U.S. demands in the current peace negotiations.
Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip through elections after a bloody civil war in 2007 with Fatah movement, which now rules the West Bank.