Abbas to head unity government
President Abbas and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal penned an agreement in Qatar on Monday which will see the Fatah leader head a unity government Maan reported
The agreement stipulates that the current President will head an interim government to prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections. It also included agreements on reforming the Palestinian National Council and activating the PLO for the next elections.
All political prisoners will be released, according to the agreement, and both Abbas and Mashaal reconfirmed the basic principles agreed upon in Cairo, such as allowing election committees to begin their work in the West Bank and Gaza.
"We are serious, both Fatah and Hamas, in healing the wounds and ending the chapter of division and reinforcing and accomplishing reconciliation," Meshaal said in remarks televised live by Al Jazeera from Qatar.
Abbas, head of the secular Fatah organization, promised that "this effort will be implemented in the shortest time possible". He also applauded Egyptian and Qatari efforts to aid Palestinian reconciliation.
A senior Palestinian official said that Abbas would assume the role of prime minister, replacing Western-backed Salam Fayyad.
It was not immediately clear if Fayyad would be a member of the new government or when it would be formed.
The deal provided for a government of independent technocrats to oversee preparations for elections later this year. A vote had been mooted in May but the Palestinian election commission says more time will be needed.
The last presidential and parliamentary elections were held in 2006. Hamas won the parliamentary vote.