Abbas to meet with Fayyad over latter's resignation

PA president, prime minister to discuss dispute during meeting in Ramallah; Fatah sources: Fayyad broke the law.

PA President Abbas and PM Fayyad 370 (R) (photo credit: Fadi Arouri / Reuters)
PA President Abbas and PM Fayyad 370 (R)
(photo credit: Fadi Arouri / Reuters)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to meet on Thursday with his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, to discuss the latter’s decision to resign, a PA official in Ramallah said.
Abbas is expected to return to Ramallah late on Thursday from a visit to Qatar and Jordan.
Fayyad’s aides refused on Thursday to comment on reports that he had submitted his resignation to Abbas.
On Wednesday, Reuters quoted two Palestinian sources as saying that Fayyad had submitted his resignation to Abbas.
Azzam al-Ahmed, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, said that the meeting would decide the dispute between the two men.
Tensions between Abbas and Fayyad peaked recently over the resignation of PA Finance Minister Nabil Qassis.
Qassis, who was handpicked by Abbas last year, submitted his resignation to Fayyad several weeks ago. But while Fayyad accepted the resignation, Abbas asked Qassis to remain in his job as finance minister.
“President Abbas has made it clear from the beginning that Qassis must remain in his job,” Ahmed said. “But Fayyad has been acting as if he is the sole decision-maker.”
Ahmed said that Abbas had also warned Fayyad that failure to reinstate Qassis would lead to the firing of the prime minister.
“The Palestinian law clearly states that the president is the only one authorized to appoint or sack the government or any of its ministers,” Ahmed said. “Regrettably, Fayyad has broken the law.”
The PA official said that Fayyad actually submitted his resignation to Abbas last month.
Fayyad’s repeated threats to quit reflect his discontent with Fatah’s increased attacks on him and his policies.
Over the past few months, several Fatah officials have been exerting pressure on Abbas to sack the prime minister, whom they hold responsible for the sharp financial crisis in the Palestinian territories.
Tawfik Tirawi, another top Fatah official, welcomed reports about Fayyad’s resignation.
Tirawi said that the Fayyad government should resign in order to pave the way for the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.
Hamas has repeatedly demanded the removal of Fayyad from his post as a condition for joining a unity government with Fatah.
Tirawi and other Fatah officials have also accused Fayyad of seeking, with the help of the US, to replace Abbas as PA president.
“Some mistakenly think that this is a Fatah government,” Tirawi said. “But the truth is that the government only has a number of Fatah ministers.”
Fatah leaders also hold Fayyad responsible for suspending salaries of thousands of their loyalists in the Gaza Strip.
Sources in Ramallah said that Abbas was unhappy with Fayyad for holding separate meetings with US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry during their recent visits to the region.
Meanwhile, Fayyad met in his Ramallah office on Thursday with British Minister for International Development Alan Duncan, and discussed with him the latest political and economic developments in the Palestinian territories, according to a statement released by the PA.
Fayyad also briefed Duncan on continued Israeli violations against the Palestinians and their national rights, the statement said, without referring to reports about the crisis between the prime minister and Abbas.