Final stage of Fatah-Hamas talks put on halt

The final round of talks between leaders of the recently reconciled Fatah and Hamas movements, Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mashaal, scheduled for June 21 in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, was postponed for unidentified period of time, Egypt’s news agency MENA said.

The leaders were expected to name a new reconciliation government. However, still existing disagreements put the talks on a halt. The new date for the meeting has not been announced yet.

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 earlier this month. Ahmad acknowledged that there has been no consensus between the two movements on who should occupy the post of prime minster in a new government.

Fatah has endorsed Salam Fayyad, the current Palestinian Authority prime minister, to lead the interim government. Hamas has rejected his candidacy, suggesting that the new cabinet head should come from Gaza.

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.

An appointment of a Hamas-proposed candidate for the prime minister’s office would jeopardize the Palestinian-Israeli peace process as Tel Aviv has strongly rejected any deals with a government backed by Hamas, which is considered by Israel as a terrorist organization.

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