Ma'an News Agency
December 21, 2011 - 1:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Wednesday that Palestinian factions have reached agreement on six steps to be taken as part of ongoing reconciliation talks.

In a statement received by Ma'an, Barhoum said that a committee composed of nine members has been formed to take charge of elections.

The committee will be headed by Dr. Hanna Nasser, chairman of the Palestinian Authority's Central Elections Commission, and former president of Birzeit university.

The other eight members are Rami Hamdallah, Yasser Mousa Harb, Mazin Sisalem, Khawlah Shakhshir, Shukri Nashashibi, Ahmad al-Khalidi, Ishak Muhanna, and Yousif Awadallah.

The names will be reviewed by President Abbas, who will issue a decree to form a new elections committee. In case any members withdraw from the selection, four candidates are on standby: George Giacaman, Issam Younis, Talib Awad and Nathim Uweidha.

Harb, Sisalem, Muhanna, and Awadallah are from Gaza, while the other candidates are from the West Bank.

Factions also agreed that a unity government should be sworn in by the end of January 2012 and that all political prisoners in the West Bank and Gaza Strip should be released before the end of January 2012.

An inter-factional committee will be formed to deal with freedom of movement and passport issues. This committee will be active and initiate practical steps, Barhoum said.

Step five involved delaying the issue of PLO membership until leaders meet on Dec. 22, and the final agreement endorses a social reconciliation committee to carry out its work. The committee was formed in 2009 to address cases of people who have suffered as a result of the political split.

Palestinian factions have been locked in talks in the Egyptian capital over the last few days. Fatah and Hamas leaders had met on Sunday and other political parties joined the Egypt-brokered talks on Tuesday.

The reconciliation accord aims to unite the parties after Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, a year after winning national elections.


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