Hamas and Fatah say agree on Palestinian national unity government

Photo: Hamas and Fatah say agree on Palestinian national unity government
 / Arab World

Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas agreed on the make-up of a national unity government on Tuesday, officials from both parties said, in the most significant step yet toward healing their seven-year rift, Reuters reported.

The groups decided on a list of independent, technocrat ministers who will run government pending national polls in at least six months - moves they hope will revive institutions paralyzed since the parties fought a brief civil war in 2007.

Officials from the parties told a news conference in the Gaza Strip that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will make a formal announcement of the new government later this week after choosing a religious affairs minister.

Israel objects to the reconciliation moves and regards Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel or renounce arms, as a terrorist group. It has threatened financial sanctions against Abbas's Western-backed administration in the occupied West Bank if the unity government goes ahead.

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