[Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (C) with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal (L) in a file photo.]
Cairo: Palestinian political parties Hamas and Fatah on Thursday, signed a reconciliation deal in Egyptian capital Cairo and agreed to handover administrative control of Gaza to a Unity Government by December 1, 2017 as part of an effort to end a decade-long rift.
The announcement comes after representatives from Hamas and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) convened in Cairo on Tuesday to implement a unity agreement that was signed in 2011 but not put into action, Al Jazeera reported.
At a press conference, head of the PA delegation Azzam al-Ahmad said the two sides agreed that the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza would be operated by the presidential guards of PA president Mahmoud Abbas by November 1.
"According security measures will be applied and adopted by the Palestinian Authority where the presidential guards will be spread all over the borders," said al-Ahmad.
Fatah party lost control of Gaza to Hamas, considered a terrorist group by the West and Israel, in fighting in 2007. But last month Hamas agreed to cede powers in Gaza to President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah-backed government in a deal mediated by Egypt.
The agreement stipulates that legislative, presidential and national council elections should be conducted within one year of its signing, though details of the reconciliation deal have not yet been made public.
The deal would also see both Hamas and Fatah form an interim government before elections.