Hamas to approve Egyptian reconciliation proposal 17Oct09 October 18, 2009

Ma’an News Agency -  17 October 2009


The Hamas movement announced on Friday it was ready to accept the national reconciliation agreement, which it said was scheduled to be signed on 26 October.

Ahmad Yousef, a senior official at the de facto Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Ma’an in a telephone interview that “after holding intensive consultations, the movement will deliver its positive stance toward the Egyptian proposal on Saturday, with a few minor notes.”

“From the beginning, Hamas never objected to the Egyptian proposal, but needed time to clarify a few points, particularly the conditions placed by the [International] Quartet,” he added, referring to demands that Hamas recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept previously signed agreements before being allowed to participate in negotiations.

Equally important, Yousef said, was “the requirement that Arab [nations agree to] support any government that wins the coming elections, to avoid repeating what was done to Hamas with the boycott, and a confirmation from Egypt that the Rafah crossing be opened in order to facilitate the movement’s foreign relations.”

The senior official noted that Egypt “will be overseeing the reconciliation until its completion to guarantee we don’t repeat history.”

He continued, “There’s no disagreement on the date set by Egypt for signing – 26 October.”

“A ceremony will be held and attended by all factions on a date set by Egypt, which could come after [the Muslim holiday of Eid] Al-Adha; this would be by the beginning of November,” he added.

The official’s insistence that the date was set contradicted Egypt’s announcement on Friday that the agreement had been postponed until “the right atmosphere is available.”

According to Yousef, it was Hamas’ view that the original deadline set by Egypt, 26 October, still applied despite the latest announcement, reiterating that “there has been no change regarding the scheduled date.”

Fatah signed the Egyptian reconciliation proposal on Thursday.

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