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Palestinian factions announce deal to form unity government

Representatives of Palestinian political parties and movements in Moscow, Russia on January 16 2017 [Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service/Anadolu]
Representatives of Palestinian political parties and movements in Moscow, Russia on January 16 2017 [Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service/Anadolu]

The main Palestinian factions announced a deal on Tuesday to form a national unity government prior to the holding of elections. The news came following reconciliation talks held in Moscow, with the participation of representatives from Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups.

Reports say that under the terms of the deal, “the Palestinian factions – including the Islamic Jihad – will join the PLO institutions and form a new Palestinian National Council. The new council will select the PLO Executive Committee, the top political and diplomatic Palestinian body.”

“We have reached agreement under which, within 48 hours, we will call on (Palestinian leader) Mahmud Abbas to launch consultations on the creation of a government”, Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad told a press conference.

He added: “Today the conditions for (such an initiative) are better than ever.”

Ahmad accused the international Quartet (the United States, Russia, European Union and United Nations) of having “completely failed”, and being “unable to advance the decisions taken by the international community, including [UN] resolutions.”

“It is imperative to find a new working mechanism for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he said.

Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouk said a unity government “is the most effective tool to promote the contentious issues that formed during the years of division, and it is responsible to promote the solutions, including the holding of free and democratic elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”

Khaled Elgindy, a senior Brookings Institute fellow, told Al Jazeera that the “most important factor” prompting the unity agreement is the leadership change in Washington DC.

“President Abbas may be looking to shore up his domestic position, and to insulate himself from what he sees maybe as a very hostile administration coming into Washington”, he said.

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