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Palestinian factions agree on elections in 2018

Preparations to start for presidential, legislative elections by the end of next year, groups decide during Cairo talks.

Palestinian factions led by Fatah and Hamas have agreed to hold general elections no later than at the end of 2018, as part of the latest round of reconciliation talks held in Cairo.

In a statement released after the conclusion of the talks on Wednesday, representatives of the factions urged the Central Election Commission to complete preparations for the presidential and legislative elections by the end of next year.

Other major points agreed to were the activation of the now mostly defunct Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) as the true representative body for the Palestinian people, and ending the suffering of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip who have been living under a blockade for more than a decade.

In addition to the Fatah and Hamas movements, the Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine participated in the two-day Cairo meetings.

On October 12, Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation agreement based on a unity government, but left several issues unanswered, such as whether the military wing of Hamas will be disarmed.

Fatah's national relations commissioner, Azzam al-Ahmad said that the Palestinian Authority would need regulations to manage the Gaza Strip.

"The Palestinian security forces must be united and steer clear of names such as 'the weapon of the resistance'," he told Wafa Agency. "We recognise that security is a complex issue and hence we do not discuss it to the media."

Earlier, a member of the Political Bureau of the PFLP, Jamil Mezher, said that Egypt will form a committee to follow up and monitor the implementation of the agreement on the ground.

The meetings in Cairo are centered on implementing the 2011 Cairo Agreement between the two political parties, in hopes of ending the 10-year political schism between Fatah and Hamas.

The 2011 agreement stipulated that legislative, presidential and national council elections should be conducted within one year of its signing.

The deal would see both Hamas and Fatah form a Palestinian government to appoint the prime minister and ministerial positions.


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