Fri, February 27, 2009
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Palestinian factions pledge to work for national unity

2009-02-26 18:05:10 GMT2009-02-27 02:05:10 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Ahmed Qurei (L), a senior Fatah leader and member of the Fatah delegation for the talks, and Moussa Abu Marzouk, Hamas politburo deputy chief and member of the group's delegation, attend a press conference after an inter-Palestinian national unity dialogue held in Cairo, capital of Egypt, Feb. 26, 2009. The Palestinian factions attending the dialogue here on Thursday have agreed to work for the reconciliation among Palestinians. (Xinhua/Zhang Ning)

Ahmed Qurei (L), a senior Fatah leader and member of the Fatah delegation for the talks, and Moussa Abu Marzouk, Hamas politburo deputy chief and member of the group's delegation, talk in a press conference after an inter-Palestinian national unity dialogue held in Cairo, capital of Egypt, Feb. 26, 2009. The Palestinian factions attending the dialogue here on Thursday have agreed to work for the reconciliation among Palestinians.(Xinhua/Zhang Ning)

Ahmed Qurei (L), a senior Fatah leader and member of the Fatah delegation for the talks, and Moussa Abu Marzouk, Hamas politburo deputy chief and member of the group's delegation, talk in a press conference after an inter-Palestinian national unity dialogue held in Cairo, capital of Egypt, Feb. 26, 2009. (Xinhua/Zhang Ning)

CAIRO, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian factions attending an inter-Palestinian national unity dialogue here on Thursday have agreed to work for the reconciliation among Palestinians.

The Palestinian groups have agreed to set up five committees to work on the issues related to the reconciliation process among Palestinians, the Egyptian MENA news agency reported, citing a statement issued after the talks on Thursday.

Ahmed Qurei, a senior Fatah leader and member of the Fatah delegation for the talks, announced the establishment of the five committees at a press conference following the talks in the day.

"We (Palestinians) started a new chapter (to reach national) reconciliation and unity," said Qurei.

Describing Thursday when the talks was revived as "a historic day," Qurei said the committees will pave the way for a solution to various pending issues related to the Palestinian rift.

The first committee would be tasked of forming a national unity government, the second one building impartial security forces, the third one overhauling the Palestine Liberation Organization, the fourth one pushing forward the reconciliation and the last one preparing for legislative and presidential elections slated for January 2010.

Hamas won the legislative elections in early 2006 and formed a government led by its leader Ismail Haneya, who was later sacked by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Haneya, who has been hiding since Dec. 27 when the Gaza conflict broke out, said on Thursday that "the national dialogue (in Cairo) is a way for national salvage and it is not a political tactic," according to a statement carried by Palestinian Information Center, Hamas' official media outlet.

As for the prospect of elections and a new government, Qurei said "the train of unity that run today would continue in the right direction to arrive at what our people and nation are looking forward."

The committees are expected to go into operation on March 10 and complete their work by the end of March, added Qurei.

Meanwhile, the factions also agreed to form a sixth committee grouping Egypt and the Arab League to help end any differences that may emerge during the five committee meetings.

For his part, Hamas politburo deputy chief Moussa Abu Marzouk, who led the group's delegation and sit side by side with Qurei at the press conference, said "the next national unity government will be the key to serious agreements regarding the Rafah border crossing."

Rafah, the sole Gaza checkpoint that bypassed Israel, is considered by the group as their "gateway to the world."

As for the Gaza reconstruction international meeting scheduled for Monday in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Marzouk said "the conference will determine mechanisms for rebuilding the enclave."

On Thursday morning, a long-awaited Palestinian national unity dialogue kicked off in the Egyptian capital of Cairo. The last round of the dialogue was thwarted by Hamas, citing Fatah's crackdown against its members in the West Bank.

The two major Palestinian factions agreed in a preparative meeting Wednesday that they will stop media campaigns against each other and release political dissident in respective domains, setting the cornerstone for Thursday's comprehensive inter-Palestinian unity talks.

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