Ramallah: A senior Hamas figure says that rival Palestinian leaders have quietly decided to keep their respective governments in the West Bank and Gaza in place until elections are held.
This arrangement would make it less risky for West Bank-based Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to pursue reconciliation with the widely shunned Islamic militant Hamas group, which rules Gaza.
It would bypass the contentious issue of forming an interim Palestinian unity government before elections, tentatively scheduled for May.
The Hamas figure says the understanding was reached in talks last week between Abbas and Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal.

He spoke on condition of anonymity because the leaders have not made their decision public.
An Abbas envoy, Azzam al-Ahmed, denied on Saturday that such a deal had been made.