GAZA, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Heads of the delegations of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Islamic Hamas movement announced in Gaza on Wednesday that they agreed to end more than seven years of internal division and implement previous reconciliation understandings and agreements.
The agreement the two delegations signed on Wednesday included seven major provisions, mainly on formation of a transitional unity government within five weeks and holding the general parliamentary and presidential elections within six months.
The signing of the reconciliation agreement was the result of two sessions of meetings held in the house of Hamas premier Ismail Haneya on Tuesday and Wednesday with the PLO delegation assigned by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
"We are here to announce the good news that our people have been waiting for a long time, which is an end to the era of the internal division that has been going on since 2007," Haneya declared in a news conference outside his house in the Beach Refugee Camp in northwest Gaza city.
According to the agreement, the two sides will begin immediately to form a six-month transitional unity government, said Haniyeh, adding that a five-week period was given to declare the new unity government.
"The two sides reiterated that presidential and legislative elections in the Palestinian territories and the elections for the Palestinian National Council (PNC), namely the PLO parliament in exile, will take place at the same time within six months after the formation of the unity government," said Haneya.
Haneya also declared that the two sides agreed to start working on other issues like the social reconciliation in accordance to Cairo agreement, adding "we also agreed to reactivate the committee for public freedoms in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip."
In order to form the new government, President Abbas has to issue a presidential decree on forming it, and after it is formed, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) legislative council, or parliament, has to fully convene and put the new government for voting.
"We agreed to activate the parliament," Haneya said, referring to the agreement that was signed by the five members of the PLO delegation and the six members of Hamas delegation including Haneya. He also stressed on Egypt's rule in following up the implementation of the agreements.
Meanwhile, Azzam el-Ahmad, head of the PLO delegation to the dialogue with Hamas told reporters that the agreement signed Wednesday "includes an agreement on all points mentioned in the previous agreements," adding "I hope the agreement will prepare for a real Palestinian partnership."
Asked about the talks with Israel and if the reconciliation agreement will influence the resumption of the talks with Israel, the senior Fatah leader said "the talks are stalled due to the Israeli refusal to free the prisoners and freeze settlement activities, and the reconciliation has nothing to do with the talks."
Haneya answered the question on peace talks as saying "we believe that the negotiations had reached an unpleasant deadlock to our people, therefore, we have to look for a new Palestinian strategy instead," adding "the PLO committee will be authorized to discuss these possibilities in the future."
Right after signing the agreement at Haneya's house, dozens of young men took to the streets and gathered at the square of the Unknown Soldier in Gaza City. They waved Palestinian flags and chanted slogans saying "The People want to end division."
Musa Abu Marzooq, a senior Hamas leader who attended the meetings told reporters that the agreement reached today "opens a new page in the Palestinian internal relations and opens the door for more hope to the Palestinian people.
"Although there are difficulties in order to fully implement all what we had agreed upon, but since we all have the determination, I'm completely certain that we will be able to overcome all these difficulties," said Abu Marzooq.
Meanwhile, Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas spokesman in Gaza said in a press statement that reaching the agreement to implement the reconciliation deals and understandings "is a historic turning point in the Palestinian history," adding "the deal blocks the road for those who plan to liquidize our Palestinian cause."