Abbas R 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israeli and American opposition won’t stop the Palestinian Authority from
proceeding with its plans to achieve reconciliation with Hamas, PA officials
said on Sunday.
The officials told The Jerusalem Post the US and Israel
were trying to foil the plans to end the dispute between Fatah and Hamas and
reach agreement on the formation of a new unity government.
'Hamas-Fatah unity would harm diplomatic process'
'Abbas says he'll plan elections with Hamas, but won't run'
were speaking shortly before PA President Mahmoud Abbas met in Ramallah with US
Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.
Abbas told the visiting US
official that the issue of reconciliation with Hamas was a Palestinian interest,
the official said.
The officials denied that Burns had come to Ramallah
to warn Abbas against going ahead with his plans to form a unity government with
Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal are expected to meet later
this week in Cairo in yet another attempt to implement the Egyptian-sponsored
reconciliation accord that was announced last May.
The summit will focus
on the formation of a caretaker government that would prepare for presidential
and parliamentary elections.
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat also said
the reconciliation was a Palestinian interest. Israeli and American pressure to
thwart the reconciliation efforts were doomed to failure, he said.
Sha’ath, a member of the Fatah central committee, said the PA leadership would
not succumb to any “financial or morale extortion regardless of its
“Nothing will stop us from achieving our national unity, including
threats to cut off financial aid,” he said.
Azzam al-Ahmed, head of the
Fatah delegation that has been negotiating with Hamas about ways to implement
the reconciliation accord, said the two sides still hadn’t reached an agreement
over who would head the proposed unity government.
He was responding to
unconfirmed reports suggesting that Hamas and Fatah had agreed to exclude
current PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad from the next government.
remains strongly opposed to sitting in any government that is headed by
Hamas officials have accused Fayyad of being responsible for the
security crackdown on the movement’s supporters in the West Bank.
premature to talk about names of candidates for the premiership,” Ahmed told the
PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station.
“Hamas has reaffirmed its
opposition to Fayyad and is hoping that Fatah will reconsider its position
Fatah has insisted that any new government should be headed
by Fayyad. But in recent weeks some Fatah officials have hinted that they are no
longer insisting on having him in the unity government.
Last week, Fayyad
said he was prepared to step down to facilitate the reconciliation process
between Fatah and Hamas.
Ahead of the Abbas- Mashaal summit,
representatives of Fatah and Hamas held a series of secret meetings in the
Egyptian capital in a bid to overcome all obstacles hindering the implementation
of the reconciliation deal.