EU says needs to ‘study’ details of proposed Fatah-Hamas unity pact 28Apr11 April 29, 2011

Haaretz -  28 April 2011

The European Union said Thursday it needs to “study the details” of a controversial reconciliation deal between Palestinian factions, but signaled that it wants the secular Fatah movement to have the upper hand in the deal with the Islamist Hamas.

Fatah, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, rules over the West Bank, while Hamas has been in charge in Gaza since 2007, when it violently ejected Fatah from the enclave.

“We have consistently called for reconciliation and peace under the authority of President Abbas as a way to end the division between the West Bank and Gaza and we have also consistently underlined the need for security and stability across the region,” said Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

“Now we have to study the details of the agreement and with that in mind [Ashton] will be talking to partners both within the EU and region within the course of today,” Mann added.

The spokesman would not be drawn on what reaction Hamas’ inclusion in the Palestinian government would elicit from the EU, considering that the bloc as well as the United States have listed the movement as a terrorist organization.

Also on Thursday, Russia said it welcomed the agreement between the warring Palestinian organizations, the Interfax agency reported, citing a Foreign Ministry spokesman.

“We have heard of this important step with great satisfaction,” the spokesman said.

Russia hopes the agreement would help bring stability to the region, he said.

Russia has been trying for years to develop itself into a player in Middle Eastern politics.

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