Ramallah: The Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas is ready for new talks with the rival Hamas movement over a long-elusive reconciliation, a spokesman said on Sunday.
"In the national interest, the Fatah movement underlines the need to respond to the demands of the Palestinian people to put an end to the division with a view to ending the (Israeli) occupation," Azzam al-Ahmad said in Ramallah.
"We are ready to meet the Hamas leadership so that the Egyptian document can be signed," he added, referring to a Cairo-brokered deal that Fatah had already endorsed but Hamas baulked at.
On Thursday, young Palestinians converged on central Ramallah to call for unity between the main two Palestinian factions.
Badur Zamara, one of the protest organisers, said they had given the two sides until March 05 to cut a deal.
The rivalry between Hamas and Fatah dates back to the early 1990s. It soured dramatically after the Islamist movement won elections in 2006 and, a year later, seized control of Gaza after deadly street fighting with Fatah.
Since then, the Palestinian territories have been effectively split in two, with Abbas` rule confined to the West Bank only.
Repeated attempts at getting the two parties to reconcile their differences, spearheaded by the regime of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, have led nowhere.
Each side has accused the other of undermining trust by persecuting political rivals in the territory under its control.