Fatah and Hamas are meeting in the Gaza Strip to discuss a deal agreed in Cairo late Sunday, officials present said on Monday.
Other factions will also attend the meeting, which is held regularly in Gaza, after factions agreed to a deadline for the work of the elections commission in Gaza and the formation of a consensus government.
Under the deal agreed in the Egyptian capital, the Palestinian Elections Commission will begin work in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on May 27, after which President Mahmoud Abbas will immediately begin consultations on a consensus government as previously agreed by party leaders.
Members of the new cabinet will be agreed upon within 10 days from the start of consultations.
The unity government will operate for six months, during which time it will set a date for general elections.
Leftist faction the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine applauded the deal on Monday, but noted that the credibility of reconciliation efforts hinges on a move from announcements to implementation.
The fate of the stalled reconciliation deal of May 2011, also brokered by Cairo, has led to deep skepticism amongst Palestinians about the seriousness of the factions to end their bitter rivalry.
Party leaders meeting in Doha in February decided to form a unity government headed by the president, in order to implement the reconciliation deal signed the previous year. The position of Abbas in the proposed joint cabinet caused uproar in Hamas ranks.
On Wednesday, President Abbas swore in a new cabinet to his West Bank government, prompting condemnation from Gaza’s Hamas rulers who said the president should instead have focused on a forming a unity government. Both factions blamed the other for the impasse on the reconciliation deal.
Hamas and Fatah have led separate governments in Gaza and the West Bank since they split violently in 2007.