Hamas chief says group ready for Fatah reconciliation

The leader of the Hamas political wing, Khaled Meshaal, said on Monday the group is prepared to sign a Cairo-sponsored reconciliation paper with its political rival, Fatah.

Hamas is eager for rapprochement, Meshaal told attendants at a Lebanese Independence Day celebration, hosted by the Lebanese embassy in Damascus.

“We seek genuine reconciliation and partnership in the Palestinian government and the PLO,” said Meshaal, who added that Hamas wants Ramallah officials to desist in detaining members to face Israeli intransigence with strong national unity.

Meshaal said he hopes a meeting scheduled for late December will help unite the opposing factions.

“We are prepared to exhibit openness and back President Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] if he does the same,” he said.

Egypt, which has been mediating the efforts, indefinitely called off a reconciliation agreement previously planned for 15 October 2009 because of Hamas’s unwillingness to cede political ground.

Both factions agreed in early November to a two-day meeting in the Syrian capital to launch talks after the end of the Muslim Bairam feast.

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