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Fatah hopes for positive answer from Hamas on reconciliation deal

RIA Novosti

03:58 16/10/2009 CAIRO, October 16 (RIA Novosti) - The ruling Palestinian movement Fatah is waiting for a positive response from its rival Islamist faction Hamas on the signing of the Egypt-brokered reconciliation pact, Fatah parliamentary leader Azzam al-Ahmed said.

Local Palestinian and some Western media reports said on Wednesday that Fatah already signed the reconciliation pact, while Hamas asked for a delay in the signing of the document.

"We are waiting for a positive answer from Hamas," al-Ahmed said following his meeting with Egyptian authorities, adding that Fatah is ready for the implementation of the reconciliation deal.

In early September, Cairo put forward a new document to reconcile the two largest Palestinian factions, which split in June 2007 when Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip and pushed the Fatah movement out of the enclave. The six previous rounds of reconciliation talks had resulted in failure.

The document envisions general elections to be held in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in the first half of 2010, a reform of Palestinian security services under the Egyptian control and the release of political prisoners by both factions.

Armed clashes between Fatah and Hamas came some 18 months after Hamas had won Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006. Fatah has renounced violence, while Hamas refuses to recognize Israel and reserves the right to use violence in its struggle to create a Palestinian state.

Reconciliation talks resumed after Israel's assault on Gaza at the turn of the year, which saw some 1,300 Palestinians killed and 5,000 injured.

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