May 2, 2011 - 12:00am

Leaders of Palestinian political factions arrived in Cairo on Monday to join a ceremony of signing a reconciliation agreement over ending around four years of internal Palestinian division.

Leaders of left-wing parties, Islamic Jihad and the independent Palestinian figures from Gaza and the West Bank arrived in Cairo to join the signing ceremony.

The reconciliation deal is scheduled to be signed by the leaders of Islamic Hamas movement and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party in Cairo on Wednesday under the sponsorship of Egypt.

On Sunday, Hamas politburo Khaled Meshaal arrived in Cairo, while President Abbas will arrive in the Egyptian capital on Tuesday night. The ceremony will be attended by Egyptian leaders and Arab diplomats.

Last week, leaders of Hamas and Fatah signed on the reconciliation agreement, where they agreed to form a national unity government for one year that prepares for holding general elections.

Fatah delegation chief Azzam el-Ahmed told a news conference in Cairo that Hamas signed on the Egyptian reconciliation pact, which was drafted in October 2009, based on the understandings reached during the dialogue.

Asked if Salam Fayyad will be the prime minister of the new government, el-Ahmad said that "it depends on the factions, if they agree on Fayyad, then it will be Fayyad, and if not, then it will be someone else."

"I believe that most probably, the new premier is expected to be a businessman or an academic," said el-Ahmad, adding that " Unity will help the Palestinians in the political process with Israel."

However, earlier on Monday, the deposed premier of Hamas Ismail Haneya said that it was agreed that the new Prime Minister of the new government will be from the Gaza Strip.

"A day after signing the agreement, we will start our talks on forming the new government. The prime minister will be from Gaza since the speaker of the parliament is from the West Bank," Haneya told reporters in Gaza.

He went on saying that the new government won't be involved in the political process, "and it will focus on preparing for the general elections and for reconstructing Gaza and ending the Israeli siege."


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017