Fatah wants speed-up of prisoner exchange with Hamas

Inter-Palestinian reconciliation will help to speed up the exchange of political prisoners between rival political movements Hamas and Fatah, a member of a Palestinian delegation in Moscow said on Tuesday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov received on Tuesday a Fatah delegation, which arrived in the Russian capital earlier in the week.

“We have recently restarted talks on the exchange of prisoners between our movements, however due to an unwillingness of both sides to release certain political prisoners, our talks ended in a deadlock,” Qais Abdel Karim said.

Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement on May 4 in Cairo, ending a four-year split that began when Hamas ousted Fatah forces from the Gaza Strip in 2007. Since then, Hamas has been controlling Gaza, while Fatah’s authority has been limited to the West Bank.

According to the agreement, the movements will form a technocratic government to unify national institutions in both Palestinian territories and prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections within a year.

The latest round of talks between Hamas and Fatah representatives was held in Cairo last month. There however has been no consensus between the two movements on who should occupy the post of prime minster in a new government.

Despite obvious progress in relations between the Palestinian movements, analysts have pointed to the reluctance of Hamas and Fatah elites to share power as a major obstacle for reaching a genuine reconciliation.

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