Abbas expects Hamas coalition decision in 2 weeks

If the negotiations fail, Abbas' inclination would be to "go back to the people," says head of Abbas' office.

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November 2, 2006 16:14
1 minute read.
abbas arafat

abbas 298 88. (photo credit: AP)

 
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Mahmoud Abbas wants to wrap up negotiations with the ruling Hamas on a new government in about two weeks, his top adviser said Thursday, confirming the Palestinian president has set a time frame for the deadlocked talks. If the negotiations fail, Abbas' inclination would be to "go back to the people," the head of Abbas' office, Rafiq Husseini, told The Associated Press. This could mean calling a referendum on whether to hold new elections, or simply deciding to call for the elections, Husseini said. However, Abbas does not appear to have the right to call new elections under Palestinian law. "People have elected both him and Hamas on different programs, and therefore he feels instinctively that the best thing for him to do is go back to his people," Husseini said in an interview at Abbas' headquarters. Other Abbas aides, speaking privately, have said the Palestinian president has set a two-week deadline for negotiations with Hamas. Asked about such a deadline, Husseini said: "The president does not like lengthy negotiations, lengthy discussions ... and therefore he has to put deadlines." "I think everybody is talking about a deadline of a couple of weeks ... and I think this must be true," Husseini said.

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