Fatah, Hamas agree to hold Palestinian elections soon

Longtime Palestinian rival groups Fatah and Hamas on Thursday agreed during talks in Turkey to hold elections "soon". 

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of the Fatah’s Central Committee, said: "It was agreed to hold legislative elections, followed by presidential elections, then elections for the National Council,” referring to the parliament of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). 

He stressed that after the full picture of the talks’ outcome is conveyed to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, he will issue decrees for its implementation. 

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He stressed the Palestinian leadership’s declared position that neither Jerusalem nor the Gaza Strip should be excluded from the elections. 

"Without Jerusalem, there will be no elections," he added. 

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There was no immediate comment from Hamas regarding the results of the talks in Istanbul. 

Earlier Thursday, a top member of Palestinian Fatah called the ongoing talks in Turkey with Hamas "positive, fruitful, and productive."

"The dialogue is an important step towards reconciliation and partnership, and unifying the Palestinian stance in the light of the consensus on rejecting all the liquidation projects against the Palestinian cause." Hussein al-Sheikh, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, wrote on Twitter. 

Separately, Munir al-Jaghoub, who heads Fatah's information office, told Anadolu Agency that a senior Fatah delegation will visit the Qatari capital Doha followed by Cairo, Egypt.

Al-Jaghoub added that the delegation will discuss several issues with leaders in both countries, including Palestinian reconciliation, the recent normalization deals by Gulf states and Israel, and other political developments.

Last week, Fatah and Hamas started talks in Istanbul.

Hamas and Fatah have been bitter rivals since 2007, when the former wrested the Gaza Strip from the latter after days of street fighting.

The UAE and Bahrain recently signed controversial agreements to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, amid strong condemnations from the Palestinians, who called the pacts a betrayal of their cause.

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