Hamas, Fatah Reach Agreement on Prisoner Exchange

Posted August 7th, 2011 at 8:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Rival Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas have agreed to a mutual political prisoner exchange in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, resolving one of several issues hindering the formation of a unity government.

They reached an agreement during negotiations ending Sunday in Cairo.

Egypt's MENA news agency quoted Fatah Central Committee member Azzam al-Ahmad as saying the talks achieved tangible and clear results. The report said the two sides will meet again next month to discuss the formation of a government and an election committee.

In early May, Hamas and Fatah agreed to form a unity government. Islamic militant group Hamas rules the Gaza strip while Fatah heads the more moderate Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

But plans have stalled over several disagreements, including who should be prime minister. Fatah wants the current Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad, to assume the post, despite strong objections from Hamas.