Abbas meets Mashaal in Cairo 311 (R).
(photo credit:REUTERS/Mohamed Al Hams/Handout)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was quoted on Monday as saying he
expected presidential and parliamentary elections to be held May
Abbas’s remarks came during a visit to Austria, where he held talks
with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann and a number of senior government
officials in Vienna.
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The PA’s official news agency, Wafa, quoted Abbas as
saying “we expect the next elections to be held in May 2012.” Abbas met last
week in Cairo with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal as part of his efforts to end the
dispute between the two sides.
Following the meeting, Fatah and Hamas
officials said the two men agreed on the need to hold elections next
Representatives of the parties are scheduled to meet again in Cairo
next month to discuss preparations for the vote and other issues concerning the
implementation of the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation accord announced earlier
According to sources close to the two sides, Abbas and Mashaal
agreed to postpone the formation of a unity government until after the
Attempts to reach agreement over the establishment of a unity
government failed due to Hamas’s refusal to accept current PA Prime Minister
Salam Fayyad as head of the proposed coalition.
Abbas told his Austrian
hosts the Palestinian application for membership in the UN was not aimed at
isolating or delegitimizing Israel, Wafa reported.
The statehood bid is
instead designed to salvage the two-state solution, the agency quoted Abbas as
The PA president reiterated his readiness to resume peace talks
with Israel only after the Israeli government accepts the pre-1967 lines as the
basis for a two-state solution and freezes construction in the
Abbas also thanked Austria for voting in favor of admitting
the PA to UNESCO and hailed the decision as being “supportive of peace and the
Azzam al-Ahmed, head of the Fatah delegation to the
talks with Hamas, denied on Monday that the two parties had agreed to delay the
formation of a unity government.
He said Abbas and Mashaal reached
understandings over the need to establish a Palestinian state within the pre-
1967 lines, with east Jerusalem as its capital, and maintain the period of calm
Ahmed said Abbas and Mashaal also agreed to “activate” the
“popular resistance” against Israel.
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