Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hamas and other Palestinian factions 'on the way' to join the PLO

Palestinian factions, including Hamas, are "on the path joining" the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal said Thursday following unity talks with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas."This is a new departure on the path to joining the PLO of all Palestinian movements", Meshaal said following the talks in the Egyptian capital.
The Egyptian intelligence chief Murad Muwafi and Palestinian independents also took part in the talks. 
Independent MP Mustafa Barghouti (The Palestinian National Initiative, PNI) said the participation of unaffiliated delegates such as himself and businessman Munib al-Masri alongside representatives of Hamas and Islamic Jihad was "a historic event. It is the first time there is a unified leadership for all political and intellectual streams," he told AFP.
Thursday's meeting of the so-called provisional leadership, which was chaired by Abbas, included the leaders of all the Palestinian factions and members of the PLO Executive Committee.`It was the first time the provisional leadership body had met since it was formed in 2005 with the aim of providing a forum for debating reform of the PLO and allowing for the participation of factions such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
This meeting was "the first concrete application of the Cairo agreement, of the reconciliation and of the partnership between all the political forces," Fatah delegation head Azzam al-Ahmed told AFP earlier on Thursday. The aim of the three-day meeting was to "focus on the restructuring of the PLO leadership and of the PNC," he said, referring to the PLO's parliament-in-exile which has more than 650 members on its books but which has not met in full session for 15 years. He said the provisional leadership body would meet again in Cairo on February 2.
Earlier Thursday, Abbas signed off on the creation of a separate nine-member panel to chart a path forward for Palestinian presidential and legislative elections. Hamas said in a statement that the groups had decided to create an electoral commission, including members of every Palestinian faction, tasked with managing elections within the PLO. The commison wil be led by the speaker of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), Selim Zaanoun, and will meet in Jordan's capital next month. "A law concerning elections to the PLO was given to the participants for them to study and each movement is to give its response for January 15 so that it can be discusssed at the first meeting of the commission", the statement added.

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