CAIRO: Hamas and Fatah set a deadline on Friday to begin implementing their long-delayed reconciliation accord.
Delegations from the rival Palestinian factions met in Cairo and agreed a timetable that starts at the end of this month, said Azzam Al Ahmed, Fatah’s chief negotiator.
Talks will also resume on forming a non-partisan interim transitional government ahead of elections.
The rivals signed the accord in May 2011 but its implementation has been stymied repeatedly by bickering, and opposition from Israel and the United States.
Fatah and Hamas were “in agreement on the mechanisms and timetable to end the division, the most important being the resumption of operations by the Central Election Commission in the Gaza Strip on the 30th of the month at the latest and afterwards in the West Bank”, Mr Al Ahmed said yesterday.
They also agreed to a session on February 9 of the provisional governing body of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, with the task of bringing Hamas and Islamic Jihad into the organisation.
It is still unclear whether the two factions have overcome other stumbling blocks to fulfilling the terms of their agreement, such as merging their security forces. Bad blood has lingered since Hamas seized control of Gaza from Fatah in 2007.