Palestinian unity talks in Cairo faced a crisis on Thursday as President Mahmoud
Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal agreed to postpone talks about the
formation of a new government, a PA official in Ramallah said.
dispute within Hamas over the recent Qatari-brokered reconciliation deal between
Abbas and Mashaal was hindering the establishment of a Palestinian unity
government, the official said.
On Wednesday, Hamas’s political bureau
announced its support for the deal following a 14-hour stormy meeting in the
However, on Thursday it transpired that many Hamas
officials have not changed their minds about the reconciliation pact and
continue to vehemently oppose it.
In a bid to persuade the Hamas
opponents to support the agreement, Abbas met in Cairo with members of the
Islamist movement’s political bureau and briefed them on the details of the
Abbas was also scheduled to meet late on Thursday with Hamas
Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, who has voiced reservations about the
The meeting between the two men would be the first of its kind
since 2007, when Hamas seized full control over the Gaza Strip.
PA official said Hamas has set “new and unacceptable” conditions for the
formation of a unity government that would be dominated by technocrats and
headed by Abbas.
The official said that one of the conditions was that
current PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad be kept out of the new unity government.
Hamas was also demanding that its representatives hold key ministries and
maintain security control over the Gaza Strip, the official added.
official also accused Hamas of preventing the Palestinian Central Elections
Commission from opening an office in the Gaza Strip to register voters for
presidential and parliamentary elections.
Hamas has also demanded that
the new government be presented to the Palestinian Legislative Council for a
vote of confidence. However, Abbas has rejected the demand, insisting that there
was no need for such a vote because the government would serve as a caretaker
government for a limited period.
Abbas and Mashaal arrived in Cairo on
Wednesday to participate in discussions among several Palestinian groups on
ending the Fatah-Hamas dispute and implementing the Qatari-brokered