Hamas, Abbas’s PLO announce reconciliation agreement

Head of the Hamas government Ismail Haniyeh waves outside his office in Gaza City April 21, 2014

(Reuters) – The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to implement a unity pact, both sides announced in a joint news conference.

The move envisions forming a unity government within five weeks and holding national elections six months after a vote of confidence by the Palestinian parliament.

Palestinians have long hoped for a healing of the political rift between the PLO and militant Hamas, which won a Palestinian election in 2006 and seized control of the Gaza Strip from forces loyal to Western-backed Abbas in 2007.

But Arab-brokered unity pacts reached between the two sides have yet to be implemented, leaving many Palestinians skeptical about their leaders’ reconciliation pledges…

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