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We handed over crossings loyally and unconditionally, confirms Haniyeh

Palestinian Authority officials can be seen taking control of Gaza crossings on 1 November 2017 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Former Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has confirmed that Hamas has handed over the Gaza border crossings "loyally and unconditionally" while insisting that there is no sense of "retreat" in the reconciliation deal "whatever the price was," Safa News Agency reported on Wednesday.

"With the handover of crossings, conceding offices to the government and heading to Cairo to start a national Palestinian dialogue, we are starting the time of national agreement," the head of the Hamas Political Bureau told the inaugural session of a conference on Palestinian National Security. "We completed the first phase of the reconciliation and we hope that we are able to fulfil all of our obligations." He called upon the Palestinian Authority to fulfil its obligations towards Gaza, but did not specify anything in order not to be misunderstood regarding any conditions.

The Hamas leader said that the reconciliation should be "comprehensive" and include all of Palestine. "We want to come together and be strong in order to face the challenges imposed by the occupation," he pointed out.

According to Hamas, explained Haniyeh, the reconciliation should reform three things: the administration of the Gaza Strip and West Bank through the PA; the administration of Palestinian decision-making through the PLO; and the agreement on a political programme which would become the common factor for all Palestinians.

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"We hope that we will reach a political programme in the Cairo talks [among the Palestinian factions] which would be the common factor among all Palestinians," he said. While noting that it is possible for every Palestinian faction to maintain its own strategy, "there must be a kind of understanding."

He concluded by saying that the strategy of Hamas is based on the document announced a couple of months ago which stipulated the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders without illegal Israeli settlements and without the concession of the refugees' right of return.

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