A delegation of Fatah and Hamas officials are currently in Cairo holding talks on reconciliation and the formation of a unified government for Palestine. The head of Fatah’s delegation, Azzam Al-Ahmed, said that President Mahmoud Abbas would meet President Mohamed Morsi in the coming days, according to state-owned Al-Ahram.
Abbas is expected to look to Morsi for help in the reconciliation effort, because Egypt has been sponsoring the talks.
Al-Ahmed reportedly told the Voice of Palestine, the Palestinian official radio station, that Abbas is expected to hold various meetings with Hamas leaders, starting on Sunday evening.
Hamas and Fatah agreed to hold talks on reconciliation in 2011 and reached a deal in April that year. The deal was made with the help of Egyptian diplomats, and stipulated that elections to establish a unity government would be held within 12 months of signing the new agreement.
Both Fatah and Hamas ratified the agreement the following year in Doha, Qatar, although no elections have been held as of yet.
Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a founding member and leading figure in Hamas, said in an interview with Al-Aqsa TV on Saturday that the delegation would focus on reconciliation and elections to resolve key crises between Fatah and Hamas. He blamed the Palestinian Authority for disrupting the reconciliation process, saying they are tied to the US position which rejects reconciliation between the two factions.
Ghazi Hammad, the Hamas foreign affairs spokesperson, told the Daily News Egypt the time has come for Fatah and Hamas to make a decision regarding the implementation of the Doha agreement and the Cairo agreements.
“We have to focus on national interests, not US calculations,” Hammad said. “The US is not interested in a successful reconciliation and they have tried to influence Abbas’ government to stall negotiations.”
Hammad stressed reconciliation is the most important factor for Hamas at the moment. “Restoring national unity will give Palestinians more strength and support,” he said. “We have to face American pressure on the Palestinian Authority and we have to prove we can achieve an agreement despite what the US wants.”
In order to achieve reconciliation, Hammad says there are no preconditions. “We want to begin implementing the agreement and do not need more conditions for it to happen.”
“Now is the time for Fatah and Hamas to make a decision and to go for elections,” Hammad said. “People are really upset and frustrated because we have met many times in Cairo and Doha but nothing has been done on the ground. I hope this time we are more practical in order to achieve results.”