Fatah and Hamas, the two leading Palestinian factions, are to hold another round of reconciliation talks in the coming weeks in a bid to mend fences after nearly a decade of hostility, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday.
In an interview with a Sudanese television station, Abbas said the two parties will hold a new round of negotiations to discuss measures for general elections to select a president and members of parliament, and the establishment of a unity government.
“We are in need of national reconciliation as soon as possible, because without unity between the land and people of the West Bank and Gaza, there will not be a Palestinian state,” Abbas said, according to the Palestinian news site Shasha.
Palestinian parliamentary elections were last held in 2006, in the aftermath of which Hamas violently ousted Fatah from the Gaza Strip. Abbas’s Fatah party controls the West Bank, where it has fended off Hamas attempts to increase influence.
Presidential elections last took place in 2005 and Abbas has held onto the presidency since then.
Hamas and Fatah recently agreed to hold municipal elections in both Gaza and the West Bank for the first time in 11 years, which are slated for October 8.
Several reconciliation attempts over the years have yielded agreements between Fatah and Hamas in 2012 and 2014, but they’ve effected no substantive change in the status quo.
US ‘stalling’ resolution of Palestinian issue
Abbas also accused the United States in his Sudanese TV interview of hamstringing efforts to reach a final status agreement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
“The US is trying to put off finding a just solution to the Palestinian issue on the pretext that it is too busy with other matters,” Abbas said.
“America must learn that without a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue, the region will not enjoy security and peace,” he said.
American-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority broke down in April 2014 amid mutual recriminations.
The US has backed, though with little enthusiasm, the French peace initiative, which Ramallah has put their hopes in for reaching a solution to end the conflict through a regional approach.
The Israeli government opposes the French initiative, arguing that only bilateral negotiations can be effective.