Few details were released on the Palestinian agreement, reached by Ahmad
and Hamas deputy political bureau chief Mussa Abu Marzouk, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials said
the next step would be a signing ceremony in Cairo over the next two weeks.
Officials said the agreement also included the formation of a
transitional government, joint security committee, 12-member election panel
as well as the release
of all political prisoners. They said Fatah agreed that Hamas would also be
allowed to join the Fatah-dominated Palestine Liberation Organization.
"Egypt will summon all the factions at the beginning of next month to
hear their reservations and sign the agreement," Ahmad said.
The reconciliation, arranged by Egyptian intelligence chief Maj. Gen.
Murad Muwafi, has been promoted by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud
Abbas. Officials said Abbas was urged by the United States and European
Union to form a unity government with Hamas ahead of any effort for United
Nations recognition of a Palestinian state in the West Bank in September
2011. The United States has relayed $470 million to the PA this year.
"What is now required is to intensify efforts towards the completion of
the rule of law and institutions and push the international community toward
the fulfillment of eligibility for September," former PA minister Hanan
Ashrawi, who often speaks for the Palestinian leadership, said.
Officials said Egypt provided Hamas with an incentive to sign the
initial accord. They said Muwafi pledged to free all Hamas detainees,
including those suspected of insurgency operations in the Sinai Peninsula.
Hours after the signing, officials said, Egypt released nine Hamas
prisoners. They said the Hamas operatives were to arrive in the Gaza Strip by
April 28 while another 20 remained in Egyptian prisons.