Gaza : Hamas says it is ready for reconciliation with Fatah

Hamas agrees to hand over Gaza to Abbas government

Hamas agrees to hand over Gaza to Abbas government

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories - The Hamas militant group on Sunday said it has accepted key conditions demanded by its rival, President Mahmoud Abbas, including nationwide elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, to clear the way for a reconciliation deal after a 10-year rift that has left the Palestinians divided between two governments.

"Hamas's step is a positive indication if they really dissolved the administrative committee and showed its willingness to hand over control to the unity government", Mahmoud al-Aloul, a member of Abbas Fatah party, told Voice of Palestine radio.

Hamas said in its statement it agreed to dissolve the administration running Gaza, allow the reconciliation government to carry out its duties in the territory, to hold elections and enter into talks with Fatah.

Egypt has been brokering talks with Fatah to implement a deal signed in 2011 in Cairo with Hamas to end their dispute and form an interim government before elections.

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Hoping to pressure Hamas to relinquish control of Gaza, Abbas has cut payments to Israel for the electricity it supplies to Gaza.

In July this year it emerged Gaza's Hamas movement was seeking a rapprochement with the Palestinian leader once regarded as its greatest enemy, as the Islamist group faces unprecedented challenges from all sides.

Last presidential elections were held in 2005 and legislative elections in 2006.

Attempts to reconcile the two and form a power-sharing unity government in Gaza and the West Bank have so far failed.

"This puts Abu Mazen and Fatah to the real test", Barhoum said in a statement on Hamas's official website.

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This means that electricity has often been provided for less than four hours a day, and never more than six.

However, Bjorn was skeptical if Hamas's announcement on Sunday would lead to a full-fledged reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

Representatives for Abbas, who is in NY ahead of the U.N. General Assembly this week, could not be reached for comment, nor could Fatah representatives presently in Egypt, which has been hosting talks with Hamas.

Talal Oukal, a Gaza-based political analyst and academic said there is apparently "a wave of optimism this time because it seems that the Egyptians are more serious than before", adding that Hamas and Egypt's ties are getting better, so Hamas "is keen to keep these ties good with Egypt".

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