Palestinian leaders in Mecca
Photo: Reuters

Hamas, Fatah sign unity government deal

Faction leaders overcome last obstacle in negotiations over unity government by agreeing on issue of international agreements with Israel. Deal states Abbas will lead talks with Israel, Hamas' special forces will be integrated into PA security system

Hamas and Fatah senior leaders agreed Thursday to form a Palestinian unity government and put an end to the violence between the factions.


Although it fails to mention Israel, the deal stipulates that accords signed by the PLO in the past should be respected. The clause regarding previous agreements was the main obstacle impeding the progress in negotiations.


The success of the Mecca summit also bears a positive financial angle for the Palestinians: The Saudis pledged to donate USD 1 billion to the new government in a bid to help it overcome the difficulties created by the economic blockade on the PA.


It was agreed, among other things, that President Mahmoud Abbas will lead the negotiations with Israel, and that the Hamas government's special security force will be integrated into the authority's security forces, which are affiliated with Fatah.


According to the deal, Abbas' letter of appointment to the government will call on the prime minister and the cabinet to honor treaties signed by the PA.


However, some clauses have not been agreed upon yet, and sources said the sides will continue to discuss several issues, including the PLO, the political partnerships and other subjects in the coming days.


Mashaal urges restraint

President Abbas thanked Saudi Arabia and the Saudi king, and promised to make every effort to lead the Palestinian people to a new road, "in order to reach Palestine's independence."


Hamas' political leader Khaled Mashaal urged Palestinians to end the internal violence during the unity agreement signing ceremony.


"From this moment on we must maintain complete restraint, to put a complete stop to the fire and focus on the struggle of liberating our lands," said Mashaal.


Mashaal said Hamas will do the utmost to see that the deal succeeds, and called on Fatah to do the same.


Earlier, the sides agreed on the names of two independents for the finance and foreign affairs portfolios, said sources from Hamas and Fatah. The interior ministry will also go to an independent but the two sides have yet to agree on a candidate, they said.


Former culture minister Ziad Abu Amr has been nominated as foreign minister and Salam Fayyad as finance minister, a post he has held before. Hamas and Fatah officials confirmed the names.


Reuters contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 02.08.07, 21:16
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