Palestine: Egypt postpones signing of Palestinian unity deal

CAIRO - Egyptian mediators have decided to postpone the signing of a Palestinian unity deal between the rival Fatah and Hamas movement as a result of the dispute over the Goldstone report, an Egyptian official source said Friday.

Egypt has earlier set up Thursday as the deadline for the two factions to respond to Egypt's proposal on the reconciliation deal.

According to a copy of the official's statement received by Xinhua, Egypt has accepted Hamas's request to postpone the deadline for further study and consultation.

The official said Egypt is making effort to end the tension over handling the UN report on the Israel war on the Gaza Strip and create suitable atmosphere for signing the deal as soon as possible.

Hamas accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) of treachery after the Palestinian delegation at the UN Human Rights Council requested to defer a vote on the Goldstone report two weeks ago.

The discord over the Goldstone report deepened the divide between the two main Palestinian factions. Although Abbas's Fatah movement presented Egypt a signed copy of the deal on Thursday, the Islamic Hamas movement asked Egypt to give it three more days to respond to the document that Cairo presented for achieving national reconciliation.

The Egyptian official stressed that Egypt considered it is necessary to postpone the signing of the deal at the moment since national reconciliation needs good political will from both sides and a suitable atmosphere.

The Egyptian proposal calls for holding Palestinian presidential and legislative elections in the middle of 2010 and to take series of steps securing the restoration of the situation in Gaza to the era before Hamas has taken over the coastal enclave by force in 2007. [adm/muslimnews]

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