New Palestinian govt within 48 hours: Abbas
3 hours ago
RAMALLAH — President Mahmud Abbas said on Monday that a new Palestinian government will be formed within 48 hours, to replace the current cabinet headed by Salam Fayyad.
"A new government will be formed within the next 48 hours," Abbas told a meeting of his secular Fatah party.
According to Palestinian officials, Abbas will once again ask Fayyad to form the new government that will not include the rival Islamist movement Hamas.
But Abbas also said that a new Fayyad-led government will step down if Egyptian-brokered negotiations between Hamas and Fatah to set up a unity cabinet succeed.
"If the dialogue succeeds, the government will step aside for a unity cabinet," he said at the meeting in the West Bank political capital of Ramallah.
Hamas, which won the last Palestinian election in 2006 but whose government was boycotted by Israel and the West, reacted by accusing Abbas of trying to sabotage the reconciliation talks which have going on in Cairo.
"He is already penning the obituary of the (inter-Palestinian) dialogue, and this reflects the absence of any will to reach an agreement," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said in a statement.
"This decision could cement divisions."
Fayyad, a US-educated economist widely respected in the West, announced on April 1 that he would remain in office until the end of unity talks between Hamas and Fatah.
The two factions long been at odds and their feud boiled over when the Islamists grabbed power in the Gaza Strip in June 2007 after a week of deadly clashes, booting out supporters of Abbas's party.
The two factions have held several rounds of talks in Egypt trying to cobble together a unity government, with an initial target of March 31. But negotiations were adjourned last month to May 16.
17 hours ago