Palestinian PM to visit Gaza next week
RAMALLAH - Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah will travel to the Gaza Strip on October 2 as part of renewed reconciliation efforts with Hamas, which runs the enclave, his government said Monday.
The visit follows concessions by Islamist group Hamas after discussions with Egypt, which has urged it to take steps toward reconciliation with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah, based in the occupied West Bank.
Fatah and Hamas have been divided for a decade, with separate administrations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
"Prime minister Rami Hamdallah has decided after consulting with president Mahmud Abbas that the government will hold its weekly meeting in Gaza next week," government spokesman Yusuf Al Mahmoud said in a statement published on official Palestinian news agency WAFA.
"Hamdallah and members of the government will arrive in Gaza next Monday to start taking over government responsibilities after Hamas announced its agreement to dissolve the administrative committee and enable the government to assume its full responsibilities."
Hamas said a week ago that it had agreed to steps toward resolving the split with Abbas's Fatah, announcing it would dissolve a body seen as a rival government -- known as the administrative committee -- and was ready to hold elections.
The statement came after Hamas leaders held talks with Egyptian officials and with the Gaza Strip facing a mounting humanitarian crisis.
It remains unclear whether the steps will result in further concrete action towards ending the deep division with Fatah.
Hamas for now continues to run a de facto separate administration in the Gaza Strip and is in charge of the security forces there.
Previous attempts to resolve the split have repeatedly failed.