The rival Fatah and Hamas factions were likely to start reconciliation talks after the rulers of the Gaza Strip on Thursday welcomed a call by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas for national dialogue. The premier of the caretaker government in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, said he welcomed the chance to talk as soon as possible.
"We welcome the call by president Abbas to hold a national dialogue and the new positive spirit in his speech, and we state that our hand reaches out for national unity," Haniyeh said. "We call for the immediate launch of a national dialogue based on the Yemen initiative" that foresees a return to the situation in the Gaza prior to the Hamas takeover, Haniyeh stated.
He said Hamas was ready to be flexible to ensure that the dialogue succeeds, and he asked Fatah to do the same. "We urge the Arab League to sponsor this dialogue and reconciliation, as it did with our Lebanese brothers," Haniyeh said, adding that the talks should take place on the understanding that there was "neither victor nor vanquished."
In a televised statement, Abbas called Wednesday for conducting inclusive national dialogue to implement the Yemeni initiative which he had previously rebuffed.