Palestinians: Hamas-Fatah unity government to be announced by end of month

Palestinian sources say 5-week deadline in place for forming government between rival Palestinian factions.

Hamas and Fatah leaders hold their hands after announcing a reconciliation agreement (photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas and Fatah leaders hold their hands after announcing a reconciliation agreement
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The new PA unity government will be announced before the end of May, Palestinian sources said on Monday.
The government will consist of 15 or 16 ministers only, the sources said, adding that the ministers would not be affiliated with any Palestinian group.
The Palestinian daily Al-Quds reported that none of the ministers currently serving in the Hamas government headed by Ismail Haniyeh would join the unity government.
The paper said that a few ministers serving in the West Bank government, headed by Rami Hamdallah, would become part of the coalition.
Fatah leader Azzam al-Ahmed is expected to travel to the Gaza Strip shortly for talks with Hamas leaders on the composition of the unity government as agreed between the two sides last month.
Al-Quds quoted PA sources as saying that Hamas has “displayed a large degree of flexibility” regarding the issue of the formation of a “national consensus government” headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
“Hamas is not placing serious obstacles on the road to forming a new government,” the sources said.
Abbas has begun consultations with representatives of various Palestinian groups, including Hamas, to discuss the formation of the proposed unity government, according to the sources.
Meanwhile, top PLO official Hana Amireh announced that Abbas is scheduled to meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry in the coming days in London to discuss the possibility of resuming the US-sponsored peace talks with Israel.
Abbas, during a meeting last week with US National Security Advisor Susan Rice, indicated his readiness to return to the negotiating table.
However, Abbas conditioned the resumption of the talks on Israel’s agreement to commit itself to discussing PA demands for drawing the borders of a future Palestinian state.
Jamil Shehadeh, member of the PLO Executive Committee, said that Abbas told Rice that his top priority is to form a unity government that would prepare for presidential and legislative elections in the Palestinian territories.
Abbas was quoted as saying that Hamas would have nothing to do with the unity government’s program or policies. He told Rice that the government would report to him, would recognize Israel’s right to exist and renounce violence.
Shehadeh described the meeting between Abbas and Rice as positive, adding that the PA president answered all her questions regarding the future moves of PA leadership.