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Egypt's al-Ahram: Damascus meeting was a setback in reconciliation efforts

Palestinian sources have revealed to Egypt's al-Ahram newspaper that the Fatah-Hamas meeting recently held in Syria was a setback in efforts toward national reconciliation made over the past two years. Rather than resolving the pending differences between the two factions, particularly with regard to security issues, the meeting was marked by the re-ignition of disputes thought to have been settled during the 2009 round of talks in Cairo and the meeting held in Damascus last September.


"The meetings held in Damascus on Tuesday and Wednesday saw the return of discussions on issues such as the elections, despite that these issues were settled in September's meeting. The meeting ended in the eruption of a dispute between the two factions over the formation of an election tribunal – and an agreement was reached that an election committee would be set up in accordance with the Egyptian reconciliation paper, and that the election would be held 8 – 12 months from the signing of the reconciliation agreement."

The sources further revealed that, as expected, more key differences broke out during the discussion on the security issues. There are disputes over all items related to security, including points that were thought to have been previously resolved, such as Hamas' demand that a UN committee be formed in coordination with the two factions, in accordance with the law, and by presidential decree – to be issued by President Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas also demanded the restructuring of the security apparatuses in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which was rejected by Fatah for two reasons – firstly, problems only occurred in the Gaza Strip where Hamas took over power by force and secondly, security bodies in the West Bank had already been restructured on a professional bases.

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