Middle East

Time for Palestinian unity: Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrives at a Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah December 4, 2012. (REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said on Tuesday it was time to seal a reconciliation with the Islamist movement Hamas which rules Gaza and unite Palestinian ranks.

"It is time to seriously deal with reconciliation and for contacts with Egypt's mediation for a reconciliation," he said at a meeting of the Palestinian leadership attended by Nassereddine al-Shaer, a Hamas deputy premier.

"We hope to agree on a meeting and a meeting of the leadership in Egypt in order to finish with this question which has gone on for too long," said Abbas, who heads the rival Fatah party.

Hamas-Fatah tensions have been high since 2006, when the Islamists won Palestinian legislative elections. Hamas seized power in Gaza the following year, ending a power-sharing deal with the secular Fatah which holds sway in the West Bank.





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