Tunisia hails Palestinian reconciliation deal

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki hailed a reconciliation agreement reached Wednesday by rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas that aims to end years of Palestinian schism.

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki hailed a reconciliation agreement reached Wednesday by rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas that aims to end years of Palestinian schism.

TUNIS – Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki hailed a reconciliation agreement reached Wednesday by rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas that aims to end years of Palestinian schism.

"Marzouki on Thursday phoned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, and head of Hamas' political bureau Khaled Meshaal separately to congratulate them on achieving reconciliation that will end the period of division," according to a statement by the Tunisian presidency.

In the statement, Marzouki went on to laud "the spirit of high national interest showed by the leaders of Fatah and Hamas to overcome their differences."

Hamas and Fatah on Wednesday hammered out a reconciliation deal in the Gaza Strip, ending a rift that had persisted between the two Palestinian factions since 2007.

Under the deal, Abbas will immediately begin consultations for the formation of a national unity government with a view to unveiling it within five weeks.

Six months after the formation of the government, presidential and parliamentary polls will be held simultaneously in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

According to the terms of the deal, Abbas has the right to set the dates for the polls, as long as they're held at least six months after the formation of the national unity government.

Haniyeh recently declared 2014 "the year of Palestinian reconciliation," announcing that Fatah members who fled the Gaza Strip in 2007 were welcome to return, with the exception of those charged with wrongdoing.

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