Egypt warns Hamas it won`t wait over unity deal
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Last Updated: Monday, October 19, 2009, 08:56
Cairo: Egypt has warned it would not wait "forever" for Palestinian factions to agree a unity deal after the Islamist movement Hamas postponed signing the accord with its Fatah rivals.

"Egypt is not prepared to wait forever," foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki told Al-Arabiya television yesterday.

Cairo has been trying for several months to help end the division between the Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas since June 2007, and the West Bank, where Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas holds sway.

The signing of the unity agreement was to be held in Cairo on October 26.

But Hamas said the delay was also partly the result of differences with Abbas's Fatah movement over the Goldstone commission's report on the devastating Israeli offensive on Gaza at the turn of the year.

"The document prepared by Egypt is not a document (meant for) negotiations. The negotiations lasted several months," Zaki said.

"Egypt has received comments from all factions and has discussed them with everyone at the highest level, including with Hamas, which sent the head of its political bureau to Cairo for more details.

"It is therefore surprising to hear... now that Hamas still has reservations about when the draft agreement should be signed," the foreign ministry spokesman said.

Earlier, an Egyptian official accused Hamas of bad faith over its refusal to sign up to the unity deal on schedule.

Bureau Report

First Published: Monday, October 19, 2009, 08:56

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