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Hamas delays signing of Palestinian reconciliation deal

RIA Novosti


CAIRO, October 18 (RIA Novosti) - The Islamist movement Hamas has indefinitely postponed a visit of its delegation to Cairo designed to submit its final response on the Egypt-brokered Palestinian national reconciliation pact.

A senior Hamas member, Salah Bardawil, said Saturday its delegation will arrive in the Egyptian capital Sunday.

Al Jazeera quoted Hamas's political bureau in Lebanon as saying Sunday that the reconciliation deal needs to be "reviewed and rectified."

In early September, Cairo put forward a new document to reconcile the two largest Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, which split in June 2007 when Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip and pushed the ruling 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 Fatah-controlled 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.

Some media reports said Wednesday that Fatah already signed the reconciliation pact, while Hamas asked for a delay in the signing of the document, but later it was reported that Fatah only officially notified Egypt of its consent to implement the Palestinian unity plan.

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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