Abbas to Egypt: 'Convince Hamas to accept Fayyad as PM'

PA president reportedly enlists Egyptian leader Tantawi in efforts to persuade Hamas to let current Palestinian Authority PM head unity gov't.

May 31, 2011 19:44
2 minute read.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas

Abbas 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has appealed to Egypt to intervene with Hamas to agree to the appointment of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as head of the Fatah-Hamas unity government.

Abbas met on Monday in Cairo with Gen. Mohammed Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces, and discussed with him efforts to establish a unity government in line with the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas.

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The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper quoted Palestinian sources as saying that Abbas asked Tantawi and other senior-government officials in Cairo to try and persuade Hamas to accept Fayyad as prime minister.

Abbas fears that failure to appoint Fayyad would prompt the US and EU to suspend financial aid to the Palestinians.

Hamas officials have expressed strong opposition to the appointment of Fayyad as head of the proposed unity government, under the pretext that he is responsible for the continued security crackdown on Hamas-supporters in the West Bank.

Earlier this week, Abbas dispatched senior Fatah official Nabil Sha’ath to the Gaza Strip in an attempt to persuade Hamas to agree to the nomination of Fayyad.

Sha’ath held talks with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on the subject, but the two failed to reach an agreement.

Hamas, meanwhile, accused PA-security forces of continuing their security crackdown on its supporters in the West Bank.

In the past 48 hours, PA-security forces arrested three Hamas-supporters near Nablus and summoned dozens others for interrogation, Hamas sources said.

The men were identified as brothers Anas and Abdallah Judtallah, who had just been released from Israeli prison, and Suhaib Meri’i.

The sources added that the PA-security forces have also summoned scores of high school and university students for interrogation in various parts of the West Bank.

In Gaza on Tuesday, Haniyeh encouraged Palestinians using the recently opened Rafah border crossing with Egypt to respect Egyptian authorities and security forces by not engaging in any activities that could potentially threaten newly eased restrictions on the crossing, Al Jazeera reported.

Haniyeh, speaking at the dedication ceremony for a monument in Gaza to the nine Turks who were killed last year when IDF forces intercepted the Mavi Marmara, said “We assure the authorities in Egpyt that your security is our security, and your stability is our stability in helping remove the seige [on Gaza] and liberate the land and restore our rights.”

Haniyeh also said that Egypt was exercising its free will and affirming its sovereignty over the Rafah crossing, solidifying it as an integral strategic partner in the Palestinian cause.

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