CAIRO – The Palestinian nationalist group Fatah and the Islamist movement Hamas expressed on Thursday in Cairo their commitment towards completing their reconciliation and vowed to end the division that has separated the two rival factions since 2007.
Fatah representative Azam al-Ahmad and Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri said at a joint press conference that the first step towards reconciliation would be to strengthen the Palestinian National Authority, which took over governing the Gaza Strip on Oct. 2.
“We have no choice but to keep going forward to achieve the unity of our people to reach their hopes and aspirations,” al-Arouri said.
He added that the talks between the two factions, which took place over three days at the headquarters of the Egyptian intelligence services, focused on pushing the national consensus government to work with all its powers in both the West Bank and Gaza.
He added that no new agreements would be signed, as both factions had already signed an agreement in Cairo in May 2011 that did not require an update.
Fatah leader Hazem Abu Shanab told EFE on Wednesday that the parties had discussed the 2011 agreement, which stipulates forming a unity government and the convening of general elections.
Both sides had failed to uphold their commitments, but Abu Shanab said that there now was consensus on carrying it out.
At the press conference, both groups asserted that they were serious and willing to make reconciliation efforts successful, in order to face what they called the “Zionist project” together.
Sources from the two groups told EFE that they had also agreed to hand over the border crossings in Gaza to the PNA and reconvene in Egypt next November to discuss how to implement the Cairo agreement.
On Sept. 11, Hamas leaders began talks with Egyptian officials in Cairo to end the divide separating them from Fatah.