A foreign relations official from the Hamas-run government in Gaza has revealed that there are ongoing discussions with the Palestinian Authority about the formation of a national consensus government, followed by elections at least six months later.
In an interview with Alresalah.net, Dr Bassem Naim, a foreign affairs consultant to Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, hinted that Haniyeh has been regularly speaking with President Mahmoud Abbas to pave the way for further positive developments in the reconciliation file. The issue of forming a national consensus government is expected to be settled in the near future, Naim said.
He noted that the new government will be responsible for three main tasks: the reconstruction of Gaza, unification of institutions and preparations for elections.
He also denied media reports suggesting that the Hamas-led government was officially informed of the visit of Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmed to the Gaza Strip.
Regarding the nature of the security arrangements after reconciliation, Naim said that the two movements agreed to keep the situation as it is in the West Bank and Gaza until a national consensus government has been formed. Upon its formation, the new government will work on reformulating the security apparatus on the basis of national principles and criteria.
Naim also spoke about the Palestinian National Council elections, which are considered key among the five issues related to reconciliation. He revealed that a joint paper between Hamas and Fatah is collaboratively being drafted in this regard, noting that consensus is yet to be reached over some points that continue to cause disagreement.
He said that "The issue will depend, one way or another, on the regional circumstances", but stressed that, unlike in Syria, Palestinians will not be deprived of a means to express their opinions.