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Middle East

Hamas and Fatah agree on unity Cabinet

In this file photo provided on Nov. 24, 2011, by the office of Khaled Mashaal, Palestinian Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, left, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are seen together during their meeting in Cairo, Egypt.(AP Photo/Office of Khaled Meshaal, File)

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

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 paralysed 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 would 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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