PA President Abbas with Hamas PM Haniyeh 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to call for the
formation of a Palestinian unity government Wednesday, a PA official said
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The official said that Abbas would issue the call during a
speech marking the anniversary of Palestinian “independence day.”
will call for the formation of a unity government dominated by independent
figures as part of an agreement between his Fatah faction and Hamas, the
official told The Jerusalem Post
. The official would neither confirm nor deny
reports that Prime Minister Salam Fayyad would be excluded from the new PA
Fatah and Hamas have been holding secret talks in Cairo in
the past few weeks in a bid to reach agreement on the formation of a Palestinian
unity government and new presidential and parliamentary elections in the
The discussions came on the eve of a planned
meeting between Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in the Egyptian capital
Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior Fatah official in the West Bank,
revealed Tuesday that he had held a secret meeting in Cairo with Musa Abu
Marzouk, the Syrian-based deputy head of the Hamas “political bureau.” Ahmed
said that he had held several meetings with Abu Marzouk “in order to create a
positive atmosphere” ahead of the Abbas-Mashaal summit.
official voiced optimism regarding the planned summit’s prospects of success,
saying the two parties had made “good preparations” ahead of the
He said Abbas was planning to propose holding new elections in
March next year.
Fatah and Hamas announced last May that they had reached
an agreement to end their differences. However, the agreement was never
implemented due to sharp differences between the two parties over a number of
issues, first and foremost the identity of the prime minister who would head a
new unity government.
Hamas’s refusal to accept Fayyad as head of the
proposed government was the major obstacle to achieving reconciliation between
the two sides, Fatah officials said Tuesday.
But an announcement by
Fayyad earlier this week that he would be prepared to step down – to pave the
way for the implementation of a Fatah-Hamas unity deal – now seems to have paved
the way for rapprochement between the two parties.
Ahmed and other Fatah
officials hinted Tuesday that they would no longer insist on the nomination of
“Fatah is prepared to propose other candidates for the job of
prime minister,” said a PA official in Ramallah. “We don’t want Fayyad to be an
obstacle to Palestinian unity.”
Hamas legislator Salah Bardaweel
reiterated his movement’s opposition to Fayyad.
Bardaweel said that the
reconciliation talks between the two groups would fail if Abbas insisted on the
appointment of Fayyad as prime minister of a unity government.