Ma'an News Agency
December 5, 2011 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas and Fatah leaders met in the Gaza Strip on Sunday to discuss the results of last week's summit between party chiefs, officials said.

Describing the Gaza meeting of top officials from the rival movements as "significant," Fatah national relations commissioner Diab al-Loh said both Hamas and Fatah reaffirmed their commitment to the reconciliation deal.

Al-Loh told Ma'an the parties discussed mechanisms to implement agreements between Fatah leader President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal in Cairo.

Fatah leader in the Gaza Strip Abdullah Abu Samhadana said that the meeting was positive and Hamas "seems willing to finalize reconciliation in light of ongoing changes in the region."

He said a committee on politically-motivated detentions would convene on Monday to release all those jailed for their political affiliation in Gaza and the West Bank within a week, and problems in the issuing of passports to Gaza residents would also be resolved by a special committee.

The leaders signed a deal in May to end four years of national division, but progress stalled in the intervening months as the parties sparred over national priorities and the candidate to lead a unity government.

After meeting for the first time since May, Abbas and Mashaal said last week that they had ended their differences and vowed concrete steps forward on the deal, which promised a transitional government of technocrats and elections within a year.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told Ma'an before the Sunday meeting that the officials would also prepare for a meeting of all Palestinian political groups in December, set by Mashaal and Abbas to agree on national issues, including the structure of the PLO and holding elections.

The reconciliation accord aims to unite the parties after Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, a year after winning national elections. Ousted Fatah incumbents who left the coastal strip set up a rival administration in the West Bank.

Both sides accused the other of planning to gain power by force, and since 2007 prolonging the conflict through politically-motivated detentions and abuses.


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