Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas have ended their reconciliation talks they described as ‘positive,’ with an agreement to free political prisoners of both sides.
The two parties, which were holding negotiations in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, agreed Sunday to meet again early next month and work towards releasing the political prisoners of both movements in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, AFP reported.
The accord "is important because it is a reassuring message to the Palestinian people, and it reflects the seriousness of both parties in implementing it," said Sami Abu Zahri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza.
A committee would also be set up to "ensure the opening of closed institutions in both the West Bank and Gaza," Zahri added.
Additionally, the agreement includes the resolution of the issue of passports for Gaza residents by the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The talks are aimed at implementing a reconciliation deal reached by both sides back in early May, which ended their four-year-long rift. The Fatah delegation to the talks was led by Azzam al-Ahmed and that of Hamas by Mussa Abu Marzuq.
Fatah has officially expressed its support for caretaker Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority Salam Fayyad as the head of the new government, which is supposed to organize elections by May 2012, but Hamas has declined his candidacy, stressing it favors somebody from the Gaza Strip.
Hamas and Fatah have been at odds since Gaza-based Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary elections in January 2006.
Following Hamas’s election victory, Fatah set up headquarters in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, thus limiting governance by Hamas to the Gaza Strip, a comparably smaller portion of Palestinian territories.