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Palestinians Set May 4 as Election Date

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has set May 4 as the date for general elections that are meant to end the division of between Hamas and Fatah.

The Palestinians have been divided between two governments since Hamas militants overran the Gaza Strip in 2007. Hamas controls Gaza, while Abbas’ Palestinian Authority governs in the West Bank.

Abbas says a unity government of technocrats, chosen from both factions, will be formed to prepare for the elections. He spoke Monday in Vienna after meeting with Austrian President Heinz Fischer.

Fischer announced that Austria was upgrading the status of the Palestinian diplomatic representation. Now a PLO mission, it will be upgrade to a mission of the Palestinian Authority and be headed by an ambassador.

Last wekk, Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshal said T that they significantly narrowed their differences and opened a new page in relations, after meeting in Cairo for the first time since 2007.

Meshal said “with this meeting, we opened a new page.” Abbas said “there are no differences about any of the issues.”

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