Last updated: 16 May, 2011

Fatah and Hamas say Cairo unity talks ‘positive’

Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas on Monday described as “positive” talks in Cairo aimed at hammering out a unity government as agreed under a reconciliation deal, the MENA news agency said.

“The talks were very positive. We have put the train on the tracks… and are moving forward in a comfortable way,” Azzam al-Ahmad, who heads president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah delegation, told reporters after the talks.

Asked whether a new prime minister had been chosen, Ahmad said it was “premature” to discuss names.

For his part, Izzat al-Rishiq of Hamas told reporters that “the talks were conducted in the same positive spirit which launched this reconciliation.”

He said both parties had agreed not to disclose the details of the meeting, saying only that the announcement of the formation of the government would be “soon.”

Fatah and Hamas, which rule the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip respectively, signed the reconciliation agreement in the Egyptian capital earlier this month.

The two factions were to “put in place a mechanism for immediate reconciliation, in particular the formation of a government of independent Palestinians,” MENA quoted a senior Egyptian official as saying on Sunday.

“Egypt will help the two sides come to an agreement,” over the choice of prime minister and the composition of the cabinet, said the official, whom the news agency did not identify.

The reconciliation accord, inked by the two rivals and 11 other factions, aims to put a stop to the animosity which has split the Palestinian territories into two camps since 2007.