Zuma hails Hamas-Fatah unity

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iol pic wld Mideast Israel Palestinians Reconciliation Associated Press Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (right) puts his hand on the Qur'an in front of President Mahmoud Abbas during the swearing-in ceremony of the unity government in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Picture: Majdi Mohammed

Johannesburg -

President Jacob Zuma on Thursday congratulated Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the formation of the state's government of national consensus, the international relations department said.

“South Africa supports international efforts aimed at the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, existing side by side and in peace with Israel within internationally recognised borders, based on those existing on 4 June 1967, prior to the outbreak of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, with East Jerusalem as its capital,” Zuma said in a statement.

South Africa had consistently encouraged both Fatah and Hamas to end the division between the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 2007.

News agency Agence France-Presse reported on Tuesday that a new Palestinian cabinet had been sworn in following a reconciliation deal between Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Zuma said South Africa called on the international community to support the new government, that would ensure national cohesion and reconciliation between Palestinians.

“On its part, South Africa will continue to render its unwavering support to the government and people of Palestine as they strive towards nation-building and freedom.”

International relations spokesman Clayson Monyela said in the same statement South Africa had consistently encouraged efforts to end divisions between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since 2007.

“This milestone development will go a long way towards advancing the Palestinian national reconciliation in particular and its struggle for self-determination.” - Sapa

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