Palestinian Rivals to Sign Reconciliation Deal by End of October

Charter to be signed by heads of various Palestinian factions on Oct. 26, elections expected to take place in 2010.

Haaretz Service
Associated Press
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Haaretz Service
Associated Press

Egypt's foreign minister said on Monday that rival Palestinian factions will sign a reconciliation charter in Cairo on October 26.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit announced the signing date in a joint press conference with his Jordanian counterpart, King Abdullah II, following a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

He said the October meeting would involve the heads of the various Palestinian factions who will sign the charter.

Egypt has proposed bringing the rivals together in an advisory committee that would have a say in running day-to-day affairs in Gaza and the West Bank until presidential and parliamentary elections can be held sometime in the first half of 2010.

The committee would be headed by Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, who is also president of the West Bank government. Abbas' government would also be allowed to deploy 3,000 security personnel to Gaza and both sides would release each other's detainees.

The Gaza Strip's Hamas rulers and Abbas's Fatah, which leads a separate, Western-backed government in the West Bank, have been bitterly divided since a civil war more than two years ago.

Bringing the sides together and restoring some Fatah control in the Gaza Strip could open up the blockaded and impoverished seaside territory to more aid from international donors that had shunned dealings with the militants of Hamas.

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