Middle East Quartet welcomes Palestine unity moves


Efforts to end the decade-long dispute between Palestine's main political factions over control of the blockaded Gaza Strip were welcomed on Thursday by the Quartet, a group of international powers involved in the Middle East peace process.

The Quartet -- comprised of Russia, the U.S., the EU and the UN -- praised recent attempts "to create the conditions for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to assume its responsibilities in Gaza".

"This will facilitate lifting the closures of the crossings while addressing Israel's legitimate security concerns and unlock international support for Gaza's growth, stability and prosperity," the Quartet said in a statement.

Since 2007, when Hamas wrested control of the Gaza Strip from the PA after several days of clashes, the coastal enclave has reeled under a crippling embargo imposed by Israel and Egypt.

Ever since, Palestine's body politic has remained split between Hamas in Gaza and the PA, led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in the West Bank.

In a bid to jumpstart the reconciliation process, Palestinian PM Rami Hamdallah has announced plans to hold his cabinet meeting in Gaza City next week after Hamas said it would meet a list of demands submitted by the PA.

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