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Fatah, Hamas agree to form interim government, hold vote

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GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement and its bitter rival, the Islamist Hamas, struck a deal on Wednesday to form an interim unity government and fix a date for general election, both sides said.

The deal, which took many officials by surprise because of profound Fatah-Hamas divisions over how to resolve generations of conflict with Israel, was thrashed out in Egypt and followed a series of secret meetings.

“The two sides signed initial letters on an agreement. All points of differences have been overcome,” Taher Al-Nono, the Hamas government spokesman in Gaza, told Reuters. He added that Cairo would shortly invite both sides to a signing ceremony.

The accord was first reported by Egypt’s intelligence service, which brokered the talks.

In a statement carried by the Egyptian state news agency MENA, the intelligence service said the deal was hatched by a Hamas delegation led by Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of the group’s politburo, and Fatah Central Committee member Azzam al-Ahmad.

“The consultations resulted in full understandings on all points of discussions, including setting up an interim agreement with specific tasks and to set a date for election,” the statement said.

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It said the agreement would allow Egypt to invite all Palestinian factions to sign a national reconciliation agreement in Cairo in the next few days.

Restoring Palestinian unity is seen as crucial to reviving any prospect for a Palestinian state based on peaceful co-existence alongside Israel. Fatah, the mainstream Palestinian movement until a 2006 election victory by Hamas, backs negotiated peace but the Islamists reject it.

Al-Ahmad and Abu Marzouk said the agreement covered all points of contention, including forming a transitional government, security arrangements and the restructuring of the Palestine Liberation Organization to allow Hamas to join it.

A senior Egyptian intelligence official told Reuters that he expected Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who is based in Damascus, to attend the signing of the agreement in Cairo.

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(Reporting by Marwa Awad and Ayman Samir; Writing by Sami Aboudi and Crispian Balmer; editing by Mark Heinrich)

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Virginia Democrats are so fired up that the party chair had to scold them: ‘Sit down — be quiet’

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Democrats in Virginia are fired up as they gathered in Richmond for their annual gala dinner.

Political analysts believe the Democratic Party of Virginia has a good chance to win control of the state legislature in 2019's election, before setting their sights on the Commonwealth continuing its recent trend of voting Democratic in presidential elections.

Patrick Wilson, a political reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, attended the event.

He reported that Democrats were so "noisy" that it was hard to hear the speakers, which include presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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‘Everyone knows what to expect’ at Trump’s Amway Center re-election kickoff

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Donald Trump considers himself a legendary salesman, but can he really sell America on giving him four more drama-filled years at the White House?

Tuesday, he'll make his big pitch.

The 2020 reelection kickoff rally is being held in Orlando, Florida and campaign operations chief Michael Glassner says the "historic" event "has already generated tens of thousands of ticketing requests."

There's little mystery about how the night will go down.

Expect Trump, the self-promoting hero of his ghost-written book "The Art of the Deal," to claim the US economy is richer, the military stronger, and the country more respected than ever in history.

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Florida man’s own family blasts him after he was arrested for racist threats: ‘This isn’t how we were raised’

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After a Florida man was arrested for trying to start a race war, a member of his own family slammed his values.

"A Florida man’s social media posts that threatened violence against African-Americans, Jews and homosexuals and that urged his followers to start a race war netted him a $1 million bond," the Miami Herald reported Saturday. "And then there’s another $100,000 bond he would have to pay to get out of Lee County Jail because of a weapons charge."

Joshua Leff, 40, is being held in the Lee County Jail.

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