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In blow to Palestinian unity, Abbas-Mashaal talks nixed

June 19, 2011 16:54

Fatah, Hamas leaders were scheduled to announce establishment of new Palestinian unity gov't, but Cairo summit postponed indefinitely.

Mahmoud Abbas at the Muqata, Ramallah, Thurs.

mahmoud abbas_311. (photo credit:Marc Israel Sellem)

A meeting that was supposed to take place in Cairo this Tuesday between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has been postponed indefinitely.

The two men were scheduled to announce the establishment of a new Palestinian unity government.

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Last week, Hamas and Fatah negotiators who held talks in Cairo claimed that they had reached agreement over the make-up of the proposed government. They said that Abbas and Mashaal had been invited to Cairo on Tuesday to announce the new cabinet.

On May 4, the two parties announced that they had reached a reconciliation accord under the auspices of the new Egyptian government.

The accord calls for the establishment of a unity government that would consist of independent figures whose task would be to prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections, which would be held within one year.

Fatah and Hamas have failed, however, to agree on the identity of the prime minister who would head the joint government.

Fatah continues to insist on the appointment of current Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, while Hamas says it would never sit together with him in any government.

The cancellation of Tuesday’s summit between Abbas and Mashaal is seen as a severe blow to the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation pact.

Azzam al-Ahmed, head of the Fatah delegation to the talks with Hamas, said that efforts would be made to set a new date for the summit.

He said that the meeting was canceled at the request of Fatah, “to provide a better atmosphere for the reconciliation agreement.”
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