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Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas are making contacts to arrange for a meeting that would discuss efforts to form a coalition government, news reports said Tuesday.
The London-based newspaper Asharq al-Awsat quoted an informed Palestinian source as saying that the communications are seeking to settle recent disagreements that surfaced when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah said the new government formation should coincide with setting a date for presidential and legislative elections.
Fatah and Hamas are seeking to bridge a five-year rift created in 2006 after Hamas won legislative elections to the dismay of Fatah.
The same sources told the paper that Hamas vehemently objects to arranging for the polls without an environment that allows it to equally compete in the polls. They explained that while Abbas persists in holding the elections six months after the new government is declared, Hamas demanded that Fatah cease its security crackdown on its cadres in the West Bank, as well as obtaining international assurances that Israel stops detaining its leadership.
Hamas also demanded that Palestinians in eastern Jerusalem be allowed to nominate and vote in the elections, according to the sources.
The sources added that settling the disagreement between both factions would be contingent on the role to be played by Egypt under its newly-elected president, Mohamed Morsy.
The sources told Asharq al-Awsat that the Egyptian sponsorship of the Palestinian reconciliation should be transferred from the intelligence services to the government in Cairo, so as to make it easier to press for eliminating differences.
The sources ruled out that Morsy's electoral win would strengthen Hamas's position in the reconciliation talks, stressing that the new Egyptian administration will be extremely keen on maintaining neutrality between both parties.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm