Accessibility links

Palestinians Agree on Elections, but Stumbling Blocks Remain


Palestinian factions, meeting in Cairo to iron out long-standing grievances have agreed to hold parliamentary and presidential elections in 2010.

Palestinian negotiators have agreed to hold new parliamentary and presidential elections in 2010, and talks continue in the Egyptian capital to reconcile the feuding Fatah and Hamas factions and form a new national unity government.

The Egyptian government, which is overseeing the negotiations, is pushing to get the rival factions to resolve their differences. The talks are expected to continue Tuesday.

Fatah negotiator Nabil Sha'ath indicated the talks had made progress over "some details", while others "remain to be resolved," before a final report can be drafted.

Five committees, including each of the key Palestinian factions, have been meeting to work out an agreement over a new unity government, presidential and parliamentary elections, inter-Palestinian reconciliation, and the restructuring of security forces.

As talks in Cairo continued, the European Union called for the quick formation of a unity government, and the reopening of passages into Gaza, in order to begin rebuilding the war-torn territory.

European officials met in Brussels with Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, acting Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyadh Maliki, and Jordanian officials to discuss the reconciliation issue.

Last month more than $5-million was raised by international donor states to rebuild Gaza during a conference in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el Sheikh. But the donors said forming a new government is critical for the rebuilding to begin.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told al-Jazeera TV that "relative progress has been made over key issues," and that he hoped an overall agreement "will be reached soon."

Arab League spokesman Hesham Yussif indicates that talks are progressing in a positive manner.

"The environment in which these talks are taking place is a positive environment and progress has been achieved on all fronts in relation to the five committees that were formed to address the various elements of disagreements between different Palestinian political forces," said Yussif. "There are a few issues that are remaining, particularly in relation to the formation of the government."

Analyst Emad Gad, of the Al Ahram Center for Strategic Studies, says the formation of a new government is not a simple matter and could take a long time to resolve.

"I think that the main problem is the new government, so till now they do not reach an agreement concerning the new government, will it be a factional government or just a technocrat government," said Gad, "so, I think this is the main issue. Concerning the new elections, I think they will not go to the elections, it will be postponed many times, but, the main issue will be the Palestinian government."

Hamas and the Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have been at odds since an agreement to form a unity government reached in Mecca in February 2006 fell apart. Hamas over-ran the Gaza Strip shortly thereafter in June of 2006.

XS
SM
MD
LG