Egypt says will not alter Palestinian unity pact
By Marwa Awad
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt will not amend a pact written to reconcile rival Palestinian movements and the Islamist Hamas should join Fatah in signing it, Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Saturday.
Hamas has objected to the proposal for a Palestinian national unity government, fearing its military wings used to seize control of Gaza in 2007 would be broken up and demanding guarantees of international recognition.
Forging Palestinian unity is regarded as crucial to reviving any prospect for a Palestinian state based on peace with Israel. Fatah, the mainstream movement until a 2006 election victory by Hamas, backs negotiated peace but the Islamists reject it.
Hamas members were quoted by independent Palestinian news agency Maan Friday as saying Egypt had accepted Hamas's proposal for amendments to the pact that, along with the Egyptian document, would "become points of reference."
Aboul Gheit responded: "Such reports on the reconciliation process are inaccurate and do not represent Egypt's position which stands as it has always been: the existing document must be signed by Hamas as it has been signed by Fatah.
"Egypt has no inclination nor is it ready to allow for any amendments to this document either in the form of direct changes made to it or even as an appendix," Aboul Gheit told reporters.
The pact also calls for restoring the security forces of the Palestinian Authority, the Fatah-led body created under 1990s interim peace deals, and planning for legislative and presidential elections in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Continued...