Haniyeh calls on Fatah to join unity government

April 16, 2006 17:37

The Hamas-led Palestinian government on Sunday renewed calls for a "national unity" coalition with Fatah in a bid to stave off rising tensions between the groups that have severely weakened the new Islamic leadership. Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh extended the offer during an emergency meeting with his rivals. The meeting came amid a growing rift with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Party and a spike in violence with Israel. "We affirmed the issue of forming a national unity government is under consideration," government spokesman Ghazi Hamad told reporters. "The door is open to Fatah," he said, adding that any alliance would require substantial dialogue. It was unclear whether Fatah would accept the offer. Fatah officials have rejected similar offers since Hamas defeated them in January legislative elections, and the party did not attend Sunday's meeting, citing tight time constraints. Fatah officials were not immediately available for comment.

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