Feb. 6 - Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas agree president Mahmoud Abbas will head a unified government for the West Bank and Gaza. Nick Rowlands reports.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas greets the Emir of Qatar, and then Khaled Meshaal, the head of Hamas. At a meeting in Doha, rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas agreed to form a unified government for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, headed by President Abbas. Secular Fatah and Islamist Hamas have been bitter rivals since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. A reconciliation deal was signed last year, and both leaders say they are serious about implementing the accord. A senior Palestinian official said Monday's agreement means Abbas would assume the role of prime minister, though it's not clear when this new government will be formed. The deal provides for a government of independent technocrats to oversee preparations for elections later this year. Fatah supports a negotiated peace with Israel that would give Palestinians an independent state, whereas Hamas is officially sworn to the destruction of Israel, though open to an indefinite ceasefire. Nick Rowlands, Reuters.