DOHA: The two rival Palestinian camps have agreed that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will head an interim unity government that is to lead them to elections.
The announcement was made jointly on Monday by the Western-backed Abbas and Khaled Mashaal, chief of the Islamic militant Hamas. It marked a major step forward in the rivals' attempt to reconcile, after more than four years of separate governments in the West Bank and Gaza. The deal was brokered by the emir of Qatar.
Disagreement over who was to head an interim government had delayed implementation of a unity deal, reached in principle last year. Hamas strongly opposed Abbas' initial choice of Salam Fayyad, the head of his Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.