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Sunday, November 25, 2012
Palestinian Authority to release Hamas detainees - Hamas to participate in West Bank meetings, Abbas to visit Gaza

Palestinian Authority to 'release Hamas detainees'
Published yesterday (updated) 25/11/2012 22:27
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=541969

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority will release Hamas-affiliated
detainees as a goodwill gesture to boost reconciliation efforts, a PLO
official said Sunday, after Hamas announced similar measures earlier.

Nabil Shaath told Ma'an that preparations will begin in the coming days to
release dozens of Hamas prisoners held for political reasons, adding that
the PA has already recently released a large number of Hamas-affiliated
detainees.

Hamas representatives will also begin to participate in leadership meetings
in the West Bank, including sessions of the executive committee of the PLO,
Shaath added.

"They are part of the Palestinian people, and they will be consulted in
political issues," he said.

Further reconciliation talks are expected in Cairo after the Nov. 29 UN bid
to build a unity government and prepare for elections.

All unresolved issues related to public sector employees will also be
discussed, and factions will try to build a "political map for the future",
Shaath said.

The Fatah leader also revealed that President Abbas will visit the Gaza
Strip, although no date has been arranged yet.

Earlier Sunday, Hamas indicated that they would free prisoners affiliated to
Fatah, giving further momentum to reconciliation efforts since Israel's war
on the coastal enclave.

Government spokesman Taher al-Nunu said the government would grant an
amnesty to all suspects and prisoners related to its conflict with Fatah in
2006.

The parties fought bitterly after Hamas won parliamentary elections in 2006,
splitting into separate governments in Gaza and the West Bank a year later.

Reconciliation talks have repeatedly stumbled, but Israel's eight-day war on
the Gaza Strip which ended Wednesday gave political impetus to ending the
division.

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