Hamas Says It Has Agreed to Key Conditions for Reconciliation

Hamas paves way for Palestinian elections as it signals readiness to end Fatah feud

Hamas says it accepts Abbas's reconciliation demands

In power in Gaza strip since 2007, Hamas says it is ready, in a news release issued Sunday, 17 September, to discuss formation of a government of reconciliation with its rival Fatah, and to hold general elections.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Hamas said it has accepted key conditions set by President Mahmoud Abbas, and would dissolve what is known as the Gaza administrative committee, a body seen as a parallel government to Abbas' Palestinian Authority.

"Hamas invites the consensus government to come to Gaza to practice its mission and carry out its duties in the Gaza Strip immediately, and it accepts holding the general elections", the statement said.

Hamas's statement said the move came as a direct result of Egyptian negotiations for Palestinian unity, saying it wanted talks "to achieve Palestinian reconciliation and end the division".

For the past several months, Fatah and its chairman Mahmoud Abbas have called on Hamas to make and implement such an announcement.

A team led by Hamas chief Ismail?Haniyeh?has been in Cairo for a week, holding talks aimed at reconciling with Abbas. Elections were also never held.

In March, Abbas stepped up pressure on Hamas after it formed the contentious committee that runs Gaza.

The failure was due to deep differences on handing security control to the Palestinian Authority, where the two sides kept trading accusations on who is the party that hinders and blocks the implementation of the agreement until April 2014.

The formation of Hamas committee, which was considered by Abbas as a shadow government, caused Abbas' tight unprecedented measures against the Gaza Strip, such as reducing 30 percent of the employee salaries, stop paying for electricity services and sending 7,000 employees to early retirement.

Representatives for Abbas, who is in NY ahead of the U.N. General Assembly this week, could not be reached for comment, nor could Fatah representatives presently in Egypt, which has been hosting talks with Hamas.

"This position puts President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement in front of the Egyptian efforts and in front of the Palestinian people before a real test in order to achieve our people's aspirations, achieve a real unity and a real partnership", said Barhoum. A delegation from Abbas' Fatah arrived in the Egyptian capital two days ago.

On his first visit as secretary general in August, UN chief Antonio Guterres said the Gaza Strip faces "one of the most dramatic humanitarian crisis"?that he has witnessed.

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