Ma'an News Agency
May 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas and Fatah leaders agreed to accelerate efforts to form a transitional government, in their first private meeting since the signing of a unity deal in Cairo on Wednesday, which formally ended the split between the factions.

Member of Hamas Politburo Izzat Ar-Risheq told Ma'an on Wednesday night details of the meeting between President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader in exile Khalid Mash’al.

Following the formation of a transitional government, the leaders said an agreement on a leadership framework would be reached, setting out the agenda for the new cabinet.

The agenda is nominally laid out in the Egyptian Unity Paper signed Wednesday, but the document mandates the approval of this agenda by the secretaries-general of all Palestinian political factions.

Third on the agenda was an agreement to release all of the political detainees in the West Bank.

The unity document requires the formation of a committee to review the cases of alleged political detainees, and ensure that no prisoner with criminal charges is released.

Ar- Risheq said factions would meet this week to lay out the follow-up to the agreement.

In a recorded broadcast which aired Wednesday afternoon, one hour after a unity announcement was made in Cairo, leaders of Fatah and Hamas welcomed a reconciliation deal they said would pave the way to statehood.

"We fold forever the dark page of division," Abbas began his address, words echoed by Mash'al moments later in his own speech.

Abbas said a government of "independent figures" would "soon see the light."

The president, leader of Fatah and chairman of the PLO reaffirmed that the new government would renounce violence, but underscored his continued support for popular resistance activities against Israel's continued military and settler presence in the West Bank.

"The people are leading a struggle that is recognized by the world ... the people struggle against occupation, settler oppression, [and the] ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem," he said, labeling Israel's occupation of Palestinian areas "state terrorism."

Mash’al, whose address was brief, praised the efforts of Egypt, and said he supported "elections at the first possible moment," but said that in order for the vote to be genuine, "first we must establish a real and normal atmosphere on the ground."


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