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Gaza returns to Palestinian Authority control


09-26-2014 06:34 BJT

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 CAIRO, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah agreed Thursday on all the outstanding issues after two-day negotiations at the Egyptian Intelligence headquarters in capital Cairo.

The two movements said in a joint statement that they would work together to end the Israeli seven-year-long blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and to activate the idle unity government that was formed in June.

"Lifting the blockade and the reconstruction of Gaza are highest priority for our people and political forces," the statement said, reaffirming Palestinian commitment to the recently- reached Cairo-brokered ceasefire truce with Israel.

"The two movements are completely willing to cooperate with the United Nations and its institutions assigned with Gaza reconstruction, confirming the role of the Palestinian government as the authority responsible for supervising and following up the reconstruction process," the statement added.

The statement also urged the unity government to exercise its security duties in Palestinian areas according to the relevant laws and regulations based on the reconciliation agreement reached in May 2011.

According to Palestinian independent Bethlehem-based Maan news agency, the Fatah-Hamas Cairo-brokered agreement states that the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas will be in control of the Gaza Strip and the relevant crossings instead of Hamas.

They also agreed on key outstanding issues including the decision making of war and peace, activating the national unity government to be in control of Gaza and handling the payroll of Hamas employees in the Strip, according to Maan.

Last April, the two Palestinian rivals reached an inter- Palestinian reconciliation agreement to work on forming a unity government within five weeks and to hold parliamentary and presidential elections six months later.

In June, they set up a unity government of independent figures but it had never been activated. Abbas, Fatah top leader, accused Hamas of running a parallel administration as rulers of Gaza.

Division between Fatah and Hamas dates back to 1994 with the establishment of the Palestinian Authority that later carried out massive arrest campaigns against Hamas leading members and military elements.

In late 2006, Hamas surprisingly won legislative elections and snatched control of the restive enclave, which has been under Israeli blockade since 2007.

Egypt has been brokering several talks between the rival Palestinian factions since the time of ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

The North African country has recently managed to help broker a comprehensive truce between the Palestinians and Israel after a 51- day Israeli offensive on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip that left more than 2,000 Palestinians killed and 11,000 wounded, while Hamas attacks killed at least 73 Israelis.

The current Egyptian leadership is not in good terms with Hamas as the movement has been an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood- oriented former President Mohamed Morsi who has been removed by the military in July 2013 after mass protests against his one-year rule.

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