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May 22, 2012

Fatah, Hamas in talks on unity government


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (UPI/Monika Graff)

GAZA (UPI) -- Fatah and Hamas representatives met Monday in the Gaza Strip on a deal to register new voters in Gaza and establish a unity government, officials said.

Under the agreement reached Sunday in Cairo, the Palestinian Elections Commission will start work in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip May 27, then Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will begin talks on a unity government, the Ma'an news agency reported.

Within 10 days of the beginning of the talks, members of a new cabinet are to be chosen.

The unity government, which will set a date for general elections, is to operate for six months.

Palestinians have expressed skepticism about how serious the factions are in their desire to end their rivalry,

Since a violent split in 2007, Hamas and Fatah have led separate governments in Gaza and the West Bank.

In February, party leaders decided to form the unity government, headed by Abbas, the leader of the Fatah faction, to carry out a deal signed the previous year.

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