Ma'an News Agency (Analysis)
November 29, 2011 - 1:00am

Fatah and Hamas are in talks to release political prisoners in a bid to end all outstanding disagreements, an official said Monday.

"(President Mahmoud) Abbas gave instructions to the director of the Palestinian Authority’s general intelligence service, Majid Faraj, to release Hamas-affiliated detainees stated in a list received from Hamas," Fatah affiliated lawmaker Faysal Abu Shahla told Ma'an.

There are no political detainees in Ramallah, only suspects held on security-related charges, Abu Shahla added.

"We submitted a list of 47 names of Fatah affiliates detained by the de facto government’s security services, and we highlighted that others were being summoned for interrogation," the Fatah official said.

Hamas has submitted a list of detainees held in the West Bank and a special committee is reviewing the names. Both parties will agree soon on a date for the simultaneous release of Fatah and Hamas detainees, Abu Shahla said.

Both factions have agreed to end longstanding disagreements, the lawmaker added, which include an end to politically motivated detentions, travel restrictions, the reopening of respective offices and freedom of political and popular activities.

Abbas will visit Gaza after the reconciliation agreement is put into effect, Abu Shahla said.

The issue of forming a government will be discussed on Dec. 20 in a Cairo meeting attended by all Palestinian factions.

In Cairo last week Abbas, who heads the Fatah party, and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal approved a two-page document reiterating their commitment to the main elements of the original reconciliation deal, saying they would establish a joint government after elections in May 2012.

Abbas said Monday he hoped elections would be held on May 4 next year.

The two leaders of Palestine's top political factions were meeting for the first time since they signed a reconciliation deal in the Egyptian capital in May.


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