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Local matter? Palestinian faction sign deal in Qatar Photo: EPA
Local matter? Palestinian faction sign deal in Qatar Photo: EPA
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Photo: Reuters
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Photo: Reuters
Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal
Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal 

US: Palestinian deal 'internal' matter

United States remains on sidelines over deal signed between Hamas,Fatah to end long-running discord between rival Palestinian movements. Says it is an internal affair

News agencies
Published: 02.07.12, 00:21 / Israel News

The United States Monday remained on the sidelines over a deal signed between Hamas and Fatah to end a long-running discord between rival Palestinian movements, saying it was an internal affair.


"As we've said many times, questions of Palestinian reconciliation are an internal matter for Palestinians," said US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.


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The accord signed in Qatar was welcomed by officials from both Palestinian movements, but Israel warned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to choose between reconciliation with Hamas and making peace with the Jewish state.


Nuland highlighted that Hamas, an Islamist group which runs the Gaza Strip, was considered a terrorist organization by Washington and stressed the US expectations of the Palestinian leadership "have not changed."


"Any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to non-violence. It must recognize the state of Israel and it must accept the previous agreements and obligations between the parties, including the road map," she said.


The so-called "Doha Declaration" is the latest attempt by the rival Palestinian movements to implement a reconciliation deal signed last April.


The declaration calls for a government of "independent technocrats" to oversee reconstruction efforts in the Gaza Strip and to "facilitate the implementation of presidential and parliamentary elections."


But it comes as the Middle East peace process has ground to a halt since late 2010.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Abbas had to choose to "abandon the path of peace" if he implements a reconciliation deal with Hamas.


The European Union offered qualified support Monday, saying it considered Palestinian reconciliation and elections as important steps toward an eventual Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.


The EU, one of the major financial backers of the Palestinian Authority, "looks forward to continuing its support," provided the new Palestinian government is committed to nonviolence, recognizes Israel and supports a negotiated solution to the Mideast conflict, said Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.


Abbas backs those requirements, while Hamas rejects them.


AFP, AP contributed to the report




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