Palestinian President Abbas to visit Gaza for first time in a decade

BY APD NEWSOct 12,2017 at 18:34

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas will visit Gaza for the first time in a decade, a top official in his Fatah Party said on Thursday, after reconciliation talks with rivals Hamas.

Abbas "will be in Gaza within less than a month," Zakaria al-Agha, a senior Fatah leader in the Gaza Strip, told AFP after a breakthrough in talks between the two sides in Cairo.

Abbas has not visited the enclave since his forces were pushed out in 2007 by Hamas, who have controlled it ever since.

 
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (L) shakes hands with Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza city, October 2, 2017. /Reuters Photo

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (L) shakes hands with Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza city, October 2, 2017. /Reuters Photo

Earlier on Thursday, the two sides announced they had reached agreement on aspects of their decade-long split during talks mediated by Egypt in Cairo. Details of the agreement have not yet been released and a press conference is expected at 1000 GMT in the Egyptian capital.

One of the key issues has been punitive measures taken by Abbas against Gaza in recent months, including reducing electricity payments that left the territory's residents with only a few hours of power a day. "All the measures taken recently will end very shortly," Agha added.

 People watch as Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (not pictured) visits the Shejaiya neighborhood in Gaza city, October 2, 2017. /Reuters Photo

People watch as Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (not pictured) visits the Shejaiya neighborhood in Gaza city, October 2, 2017. /Reuters Photo

Since the near civil war in 2007, the two Palestinian factions have been at loggerheads – complicating any potential peace talks with Israel. Multiple previous reconciliation talks have failed.

Last month, Hamas agreed to cede civil power in Gaza but the fate of its vast military wing is a significant stumbling block and the group remains effectively in charge in the enclave.

(AFP)

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