Fatah, Hamas make progress on accord: Russia

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Russia said Monday that rival Palestinian leaders from Fatah and Hamas had further bridged their differences and made progress on the details of a new Palestinian reconciliation accord.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced after talks with visiting Palestinian delegations that Fatah and Hamas representatives had put their names on a new statement detailing the agreement signed in Cairo on May 4.

Lavrov said the implementation mechanism was signed on Sunday and approved personally by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

"We have taken another step and agreed a statement that will help implement the Cairo accord," Lavrov said after talks with Fatah's Azzam al-Ahmed and Hamas member Mussa Abu Marzuk along with other Palestinian negotiators.

"I received a call from Mahmud Abbas ... and he thanked me for presenting a venue for this useful meeting," Russia's top diplomat added.

Analysts said the Moscow meeting represented one of Russia's most serious interventions in the stalled Middle East peace process in recent years.

The West Bank's Fatah and Gaza Strip's Hamas factions were among 11 signatories to the historic reconciliation accord.

Russia has voiced support for the agreement and also favours the creation of a single Palestinian state with pre-1967 borders -- an idea rejected by Israel but mooted by US President Barack Obama last week.

The new accord aims to put a stop to the animosity that has split the Palestinian territories into two camps since 2007 and pave the way for elections within a year.

The new government is not expected to include members of the factions but consist of technocrats to serve until elections.

© 2011 AFP

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