|Moussa Abu Marzouk (L), Azzam al-Ahmed (R)|
“Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank will be celebrating this agreement… We must now work to implement what was agreed in the deal,” he noted.
The deal was officially signed by Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy to Hamas’ Political Bureau Chief Khaled Meshaal, and senior Fatah member Azzam al-Ahmed, AFP reported.
The surprise deal, announced last week, comes after 18 months of failed talks and envisions the formation of an interim government of independent figures that will prepare the way for presidential and legislative elections within a year.
It was also signed by a variety of Palestinian factions, including Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestinian People’s Party.
Abbas and Meshaal are scheduled to meet several times between Tuesday and Thursday, and will also hold talks with Egyptian officials about ways to implement the agreement.
The deal largely maintains the status quo, leaving Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority ruling the West Bank.
The agreement will be based on a 2009 document mediated by Egypt, which Fatah officials have already signed. Sources say the document has not been modified. A second document, said to have been finalized in Damascus in the winter when the last unity talks took place, will act as a guideline for the implementation of the first document.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has called on the United Nations to force some clauses into the Palestinian deal, including one that obliges Hamas to recognize Israel. Hamas has blasted the idea emphasizing that the Tel Aviv regime is attempting to ‘blackmail’ the movement by raising such ideas.
Also in Sunday, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said he had suspended transfer of USD 89 million in custom fees and tax money entitled to the PA, arguing that the funds would find their way to Hamas.
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