Hamas: Unity Dialogue to Resume on April 26

A Hamas spokesman said Tuesday that inter-Palestinian unity talks will resume in Cairo on April 26.

"The date of the dialogue, April 26, is still set," said Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

Abu Zuhri said he hopes that Hamas’ rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, "would come to the dialogue this time with stopping arrests against Hamas supporters in the West Bank and without demanding Hamas to stick to international conditions as a way to reach settlement."

The talks aim at forming a unity government that restores political ties to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as well as end the split following Hamas’ violent takeover of Gaza in 2007.

In talk sessions in the past weeks, Hamas and Fatah have agreed on forming a transitional government and holding elections in January 2010. However, they failed to agree on the government’s platform and the electoral law.

Hamas said it can not join or form any government that would meet the international demands of recognizing Israel, abiding by peace deals and renouncing violence. Fatah argues that the government must accept these conditions in order to enjoy an international recognition.

Meanwhile, Abu Zuhri said his movement has studied an Egyptian offer of forming a national committee to implement any agreement that the Palestinian factions brokered in Cairo dialogue.

He said Hamas’ answer to this offer would be sent to Egypt at the end of this month.


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