Hamas and Fatah hold "positive" meeting as Palestinian unity edges closer
Hamas and Fatah officials held a three-hour meeting in Gaza on Wednesday in what officials described as a "positive" atmosphere.
Head of Fatah's negotiation team Azzam al-Ahmad said after the meeting that talks will continue and officials will abide by a five-week deadline to form a unity government.
Mousa Abu Marzouq, head of the Hamas negotiating team, said the talks would be finalized next week and a unity government would be announced shortly afterwards.
The proposed candidates for the unity government are politically "impartial," Fatah official Fayez Abu Atiyeh told Ma'an, with Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri adding that the formation of a proposed unity cabinet is nearly complete.
Earlier, Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniyeh said that he believed the unity government would achieve its goals and "our mission is to make it succeed and to mobilize our people behind its national goals."
"We will clean the road to reconciliation from all obstacles and landmines, and I hereby call on our brothers in the West Bank to take the same path and to maintain freedoms," he said, while addressing Gaza members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
On April 23, the Fatah-led PLO and Hamas announced a national unity deal to end seven years of political division between the largest two Palestinian parties, with a national unity government to be set in place within five weeks.
The groups have made failed attempts at national reconciliation for years, most recently in 2012, when they signed two agreements -- one in Cairo and a subsequent one in Doha -- which have as of yet been unimplemented.