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Palestinian Fatah movement to elect new leader in March


AMMAN, February 5 (RIA Novosti) - The Fatah organization of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will elect a leader in March when it holds its first general conference in 19 years, an organizing committee member said on Thursday.

The decision to hold the general conference on March 21 was made in Jordan's capital of Amman on Thursday.

The organizing committee member told RIA Novosti that the conference would be held in either Jordan or Egypt, where Abbas has close relations. It is expected that up to 1,500 Fatah members from the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the Palestinian diaspora will attend.

The Fatah movement has not held a general conference for 19 years. The last general conference was held in Algeria in 1989 under the late Palestine Liberation Organization leader, Yasser Arafat, who died in 2004, after which Abbas was appointed Fatah leader.

Fatah's Revolutionary Council will meet in the next few weeks in Amman "to discuss the situation on the Palestinian arena, the situation in the Gaza Strip after recent war with Israel, as well as possibilities for talks with its main opponent, Hamas," the committee member said.

In 2006, the radical Islamic Hamas movement won elections in the Gaza Strip, taking control of the enclave in June 2007 after deadly street fighting with Fatah supporters.

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