Ma'an News Agency
September 9, 2009 - 12:00am

Fatah’s newly-elected Central Committee appointed controversial former Gaza strongman Muhammad Dahlan to be charge of information on Tuesday night.

The committee, which was reconstituted at the party’s convention in Bethlehem in August, held a meeting on Tuesday in the security compound (Al-Muqata’a) in Ramallah and

Central committee member Jamal Muheisin told Ma’an that Ahmad (Abu Mahir) Ghneim was appointed Deputy Chair and Secretary of Fatah movement.

Another member of the Central Committee Othman Abu Gharbiyya said before the session that Fatah’s Sixth Congress in August gave President Mahmoud Abbas more power as he was directly elected.

Meanwhile, a delegation of high-ranking Fatah leaders from the West Bank will hold talks with Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip next week, according to Nabil Sha’ath, a member of the Central Committee who is organizing the visit.

Dahlan, the former head of the pro-Fatah Preventive Security Service in Gaza, is not a member of the delegation. In his new role on the Central Committee he is not responsible for matters related to Gaza.

Hamas said there has been no advance coordination with Hamas regarding the visit. However, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum welcomed the visit on the condition of coordination with Hamas and the people in charge.

“It is too early to talk about any arrangements related to Fatah’s organizational issues in the Gaza Strip in light of the elimination of Hamas in the West Bank. This must be addressed as part of the national reconciliation process which should include releasing politically-motivated detainees,” Barhoum said.

Earlier on Tuesday Sa’ath said in a statement that the meetings with Hamas will address political, social, health, and education issues. The visit will be an attempt to restore mutual trust, and open a new window of hope and optimism for the Palestinian people, according to Sha’ath's statement.

He said the talks are in preparation for a planned resumption of unity negotiations after the end of Ramadan.

Sha’ath also emphasized that the visit would be part of the Egyptian efforts to reunite Hamas and Fatah, and not a separate track. He said the Egyptian government was aware of the trip it and wished it success.

A Fatah official told Ma’an that the delegation could include Sha'ath, Palestinian National Council official Salim Za’noun, Fakhri Bseisu, Mahmoud Al-Aloul, and former security chief Jibril Rajoub.


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