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Hamas ‘would axe key body to promote Palestinian unity’

By AFP - Sep 12,2017 - Last updated at Sep 12,2017

The son of senior Hamas militant Mazen Fuqaha sits on the shoulders of Hamas Gaza Chief Yahya Al Sinwar as Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (left) gestures during a memorial service for Fuqaha in Gaza City on March 27 (Reuters photo)

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh has told Egyptian officials that he would dissolve a key body causing tension with rival Palestinian faction Fateh, an official with the Islamist movement said Tuesday.

In March, Hamas announced the formation of a new "administrative committee" seen as a rival government to the internationally recognised administration led by President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas has denied the committee was a rival government.

Since the committee was formed, Abbas has sought to squeeze Hamas, reducing electricity payments for the Gaza Strip which the movement controls, among other measures.

The Hamas official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Haniyeh told the head of Egyptian intelligence Khaled Fawzy and other officials in Cairo on Monday that they would dissolve the council without preconditions to make way for a unity government with Fateh.

Hamas, he said, wanted Egypt to "succeed in achieving Palestinian reconciliation, and I think there are no arguments now for Fateh to disrupt Egypt's efforts".

Hamas has run Gaza for a decade since seizing control of the territory from Abbas' secular Fateh Party, which leads the government in the West Bank.

Multiple attempts at reconciliation between the two movements have failed.

A Hamas statement published late Monday said that during talks in Egypt the Hamas delegation had "emphasised its readiness to hold negotiations with Fateh in Cairo immediately to conclude a [unity] agreement".

Fateh spokesman in Gaza Fayez Abu Aita told AFP Abbas had made it clear any stopping of the measures against Hamas was "linked to a solution for the administration committee", as well as allowing the Abbas-led government to exercise control in Gaza.

 

Haniyeh's current visit to Cairo is his first since his election as Hamas leader in May.

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