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Monday, August 8, 2011

Palestinian rival factions agree to release detainees before end of Ramadan

Hamas and Fatah delegations met in Cairo on Sunday to discuss ways to implement the Palestinian reconciliation agreement the two factions signed in late April.

Fatah Central Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad represented Ramallah's interest, while those of Gaza Strip were represented by Hamas Politburo Deputy Chief Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk.

Following a lengthy meeting, the parties agreed on the bilateral release of all political prisoners held in Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The move is considered a gesture of good will on both parts.

Hamas and Fatah also agreed to form a joint committee to supervise the reinstatement of joint institutions – the majority of which were shut down after Hamas' takeover of Gaza Strip.

Another committee agreed on during the meeting will issue Palestinian passports.

Both parties agreed to meet again in early September to discuss the future unity government and various security issues.

They agreed during talks in Cairo to a mutual prisoner release. Each side has been rounding up supporters of its rival.

Izzat Rashaq, a top Hamas member, said Sunday all detainees will be released before the end of the holy month of Ramadan in about three weeks.

Chief Fatah negotiator Azzam al-Ahmed said most of the detainees on both sides had been released already, and the remainder would soon be freed.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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