SANAA (Reuters) – Reconciliation talks between Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas hinge on Hamas’ response to a proposal about the future of the Gaza Strip, the Yemeni foreign minister said on Saturday.
Under the draft agreement from the Yemen-sponsored talks, Hamas and Fatah would agree to hold direct talks in early April about a Yemeni plan calling for the situation in the Gaza Strip to return to the way it was before Hamas took it over.
The issue has been a main point of contention, with Fatah demanding that Hamas Islamists give up control of the territory, which the group seized in June after routing Fatah forces.
“A final formula was reached and Fatah agreed to it … Our brothers in the Hamas movement asked for an opportunity to consult their (leadership),” Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi told reporters.
A Hamas official said: “The main stumbling block is Fatah’s insistence that Hamas cease its control of the Gaza Strip.
The plan also envisages Palestinian elections, the creation of another unity government and a rebuilding of Palestinian security forces along national rather than factional lines.
Fatah has said it would agree to direct reconciliation talks with Hamas only if Hamas first consented to relinquish its hold on the Gaza Strip, home to 1.5 million Palestinians.