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U.S. says Palestinian deal ‘internal’ matter

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, February 6, 2012 16:32 EDT
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Qatar Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani (C), Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas (L) and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal via AFP
 
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WASHINGTON — The United States Monday remained on the sidelines over a deal signed between Hamas and Fatah to end a long-running discord between rival Palestinian movements, saying it was an internal affair.

“As we’ve said many times, questions of Palestinian reconciliation are an internal matter for Palestinians,” said US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

The accord signed in Qatar was welcomed by officials from both Palestinian movements, but Israel warned Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to choose between reconciliation with Hamas and making peace with the Jewish state.

Nuland highlighted that Hamas, an Islamist group which runs the Gaza Strip, was considered a terrorist organization by Washington and stressed the US expectations of the Palestinian leadership “have not changed.”

“Any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to non-violence. It must recognize the state of Israel and it must accept the previous agreements and obligations between the parties, including the road map,” she said.

The so-called “Doha Declaration” is the latest attempt by the rival Palestinian movements to implement a reconciliation deal signed last April.

The declaration calls for a government of “independent technocrats” to oversee reconstruction efforts in the Gaza Strip and to “facilitate the implementation of presidential and parliamentary elections.”

But it comes as the Middle East peace process has ground to a halt since late 2010.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Abbas had to choose to “abandon the path of peace” if he implements a reconciliation deal with Hamas.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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