Palestinian factions agree to speed up reconciliation

Palestinian political movements Fatah and Hamas signed an agreement to advance the reconciliation process.

The Egypt-brokered agreement was signed May 20 in Cairo, the Palestinian Ma’an news service reported, citing Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad.

Fatah is the party of Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority. The militant organization Hamas heads the government in the Gaza Strip.

The unity government is set to operate for six months, after which a date for elections will be set.

Last week, Abbas swore in a new Cabinet, the second reshuffle of Cabinet positions since it was formed in 2007 under the leadership of P.A. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

The Hamas government in Gaza decried the move, calling it illegitimate and in conflict with the March agreement to establish a unity government of Fatah and Hamas. — jta