CAIRO (AFP/Reuters) - Palestinian president Mahmud Abbass Fatah party on Thursday gave a signed copy of a proposed unity accord with rivals Hamas to Egyptian mediators, as the Hamas asked for more time to consider the deal.
I handed over the signed agreement and said what I had to say, Fatah negotiator Azzam al-Ahmed told AFP.
Now we are waiting for Hamass response.
He said after meeting Egyptian mediators that Thursday was the deadline for signing the deal, and that there would be another meeting later in the day to study what further steps are to be taken.
Hamas said earlier it wanted more time to study the deal and demanded that the accord include a clause on the right to resist Israeli occupation.
Hamas has officially asked Egypt to give it two to three days to complete its internal consultations, the Hamas-run government spokesman Taher al-Nunu told AFP in the Gaza Strip.
A Damascus-based spokesman for Hamas and other hardline groups also criticised the agreement earlier, saying it lacks a political vision concerning the conflict (with Israel) and the aggression against our people.
The Palestinian factions will not sign the accord.
.
.
unless the text includes the principles and the rights of Palestinians, especially that of resisting the Zionist occupation, Khaled Abdel Majid said.
We urge all Palestinian groups and national personalities to act rapidly and take those measures necessary to preserve the Palestinian cause from the dangers that threaten it and to insist on the historic rights of our people.
He said the deal should also include the question of Jerusalem and the dangers of 'judaisation and permanent aggression that threaten this holy city, as well as the right of return for Palestinian refugees to their homes.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday he would hold elections as planned in January unless Hamas agreed to an Egyptian reconciliation deal that would delay the polls until June.
Our Basic Law stipulates that elections must be held before January 24th, 2010, Abbas told a news conference after meeting Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
According to the Egyptian document, elections should be held on 28th of June 2010.
If there is an agreement (with Hamas) we will abide by it, but if there is no agreement we will abide by the Basic Law, Abbas said.
Abbass aides have made similar statements but the Western-backed leaders comments, voiced while Hamas continued to weigh Cairos proposal, marked the first time he has said publicly he would order January polls in the absence of a deal.
Egypt has been trying for more than a year to close the wide rift between Abbass secular Fatah faction and Islamist Hamas, which won a parliamentary election in 2006 and took over the Gaza Strip in a brief Palestinian civil war in 2007.
Under the proposed reconciliation, a committee of Palestinian factions would act as a liaison between the Fatah-dominated government in the West Bank and Hamas, and a joint police force would be formed.
While likely to be welcomed by many Palestinians, such Fatah-Hamas cooperation could pose a problem for Israel and the United States, which has been pressing Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resume peace negotiations.
Hamas opposes the talks, suspended since December, and has rejected Western demands to recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept existing interim peace deals.
Egypt has invited Fatah and Hamas to attend a ceremony on October 24-26 in Cairo, where they were expected to sign a reconciliation pact.
But Hamas asked last week for a postponement, citing Abbass agreement under U.
S.
pressure to back the deferral by the U.
N.
Human Rights Council of a vote on a report that accused Israel of war crimes during Israels December-January Gaza offensive.
The report, by South African jurist Richard Goldstone, also said Hamas militants, who carried out cross-border rocket attacks on communities in Israel, committed war crimes.