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Palestinian agreement must advance peace, US says

Arab World Materials 5 May 2011 02:38 (UTC +04:00)
A reconciliation agreement between the Palestinian Fatah and Hamas movements must be aimed at advancing the prospects of peace with Israel, the US State Department said.
Palestinian agreement must advance peace, US says

A reconciliation agreement between the Palestinian Fatah and Hamas movements must be aimed at advancing the prospects of peace with Israel, the US State Department said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Fatah faction, formalized the agreement on Wednesday in Cairo with the more militant Hamas, DPA reported.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the United States was reviewing the agreement to determine its meaning in "practical terms" but added it should not undermine the peace process with Israel.

"It's important now that Palestinians ensure implementation of that agreement in a way that advances the prospects of peace rather than undermines them," Toner said.

The deal would end four years of division during which Hamas has controlled the Gaza Strip and the internationally recognized Abbas governed the larger West Bank. The agreement calls for establishing an interim unity government until elections can be held.

The US lists Hamas as a terrorist organization and has not said how it would respond to a government that included the militants. Toner reiterated longstanding demands that Hamas recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept previous agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

"We've been clear all along the principles to which we think any Hamas element in the government would have to adhere to," Toner said.

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