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Palestinian Factions Agree to Unity Government

  • VOA News

Rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah have signed an agreement on forming a unity government, in an effort to end factional violence and crippling international sanctions.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal signed the deal Thursday in front of Saudi King Abdullah. The king hosted talks between the two sides in Mecca.

An Abbas aide said the Palestinian president called on the new government to abide by international law and past agreements reached by the Palestine Liberation Organization, whose largest faction is Fatah.

The Israeli government says the new Palestinian government must renounce violence, recognize Israel and respect past agreements with Israel.

International donors froze aid last year after Hamas took power and refused to do those three things.

The reconciliation talks began Wednesday, and Thursday the parties agreed on how to divide cabinet posts. Mr. Abbas asked current Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas to head the new government.

Fighting between Hamas and Fatah has killed more than 90 Palestinians since December.

Fatah and Hamas have been locked in a power struggle since parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip brought Hamas to power last year.

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