Hamas, PA discuss reforms
The Palestinian movement Hamas disclosed it had discussed Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's proposed reforms with officials from the Palestinian Authority (PA).
"Representatives of the Palestinian Authority and (Arafat's) Fatah (movement) met in Gaza late Thursday with a Hamas delegation led by Sheikh Ahmad Yassin," the group's spiritual leader, Hamas official Ismail Hania told AFP.
Arafat adviser, Nabil Abu Rudeina, confirmed the contacts and said the Palestinian leader was engaged in "intensive consultations with all political forces" about the proposed reforms. "Preparations for legislative and municipal elections are ongoing," Abu Rudeina said, reiterating however, that Israel must evacuate Palestinian self-rule areas before the polls can be held.
According to Hania, during the talks the PA delegation "presented ideas on reforms, in particular about the formation of a new government," adding that Hamas was "formulating a response to these ideas."
Hamas was not asked to take part in the new government, he said, but they would work to "ensure the preservation of national unity and will defend (the right) to resist the Israeli occupation".
Khaled al-Batsh, an official from Islamic Jihad, another Palestinian group, said his movement would discuss reform plans with PA representatives in Gaza on Friday or Saturday, and was hoping to convince them to declare a state of emergency.
"Jihad will propose the declaration of a state of emergency and the formation of a leadership that includes all the national and Islamic currents so they can act outside the framework of American and Israeli diktats and the Olso accords", he added.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, two key secular factions in the PLO, said Thursday they had turned down offers by Arafat to participate in a future government. (Albawaba.com)
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