Palestinian president and Fatah leader Mahmud Abbas has met the head of Hamas and his deputy in Qatar, a Palestinian official said on Friday, in a sign of easing tensions.
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Thursday’s meeting in the Qatari capital was the first between Abbas and Doha-based Khaled Meshaal in two years, and the second between him and the Hamas chief in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniya, since 2012.
Abbas’s secular party Fatah and the Islamist Hamas have been at loggerheads since the latter seized Gaza in a near civil war in 2007.
The Doha meeting provided the opportunity to “insist on the need to resume dialogue between Fatah and Hamas”, Palestinian presidency spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said.
Abbas stressed the need for “Palestinian national reconciliation”, as well as “forming a national unity government and holding elections”.
The Palestinian government postponed the first municipal polls in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip in 10 years earlier this month after the high court ruled they should be held only in the Fatah-run West Bank.
The Palestinians have not held an election in which both Hamas and Fatah have taken part since 2006. They have also not held a simultaneous vote in both the West Bank and Gaza since then.