Palestinian rivals agree on elections to finish dispute however doubts persist By Reuters

By Lamine Chikhi and Nidal al-Mughrabi

ALGIERS/GAZA (Reuters) – Rival Palestinian factions assembly in Algiers for talks mediated by the Algerian authorities agreed on Thursday to resolve 15 years of discord by way of elections that shall be held inside a yr, a Palestinian and an Algerian official mentioned.

Nevertheless, there was scepticism again residence that they’d ship any concrete modifications after earlier such guarantees of elections didn’t materialise.

The leaders of 14 factions, together with President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah motion and the Islamist group Hamas, held two days of talks within the run-up to an Arab summit in Algiers subsequent month.

Underneath the settlement, to be formally introduced in a while Thursday, the events promised to “velocity up the holding of presidential and legislative elections in all the Palestinian territories together with Jerusalem” to inside a yr, in line with officers.

It additionally recognised the Palestine Liberation Organisation, of which Abbas is the top, as the only consultant of the Palestinian folks, calling for elections for its nationwide council inside a yr.

Political splits since 2007 have weakened Palestinian aspirations to additional their reason for statehood and have prevented presidential and parliamentary elections since ballots have been final solid in 2005 and 2006.

Hamas’ legislative victory then laid the bottom for the political rupture. The Islamist group, which opposes peace with Israel, seized management of the Gaza Strip in 2007 whereas Abbas’ Western-backed Palestinian Authority stayed dominant within the West Financial institution.

Within the Palestinian territories, folks have been following the talks in Algeria with little optimism that an settlement will ship change, and sources conversant in the talks mentioned delegations had didn’t agree on forming a unity authorities.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune desires to make use of subsequent month’s Arab League summit – the primary since earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic – to cement his nation’s place as a regional heavyweight. It has held talks for months with Palestinian factions to pave the way in which for a deal.

Renewed demand for Algerian oil and fuel, and the top of mass avenue protests that rocked the nation from 2019-20, have bolstered its confidence on the worldwide stage.

Nevertheless, its ongoing dispute with neighbouring Morocco, which has erupted into each international locations’ relations with main European states, has overshadowed the run-up to the summit.

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