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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:23, March 11, 2006
Hamas premier-designate meets Abbas over formation of gov't
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Palestinian prime minister-designate Ismail Haneya, who is from the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Gaza Strip on Friday over the formation of a Hamas-led new government.

Haneya told reporters that the talks with Abbas were "positive", adding that he had presented a formal response to the accreditation letter that Abbas gave him on Feb. 21.

"We have explained (to Abbas) our vision for the future Palestinian government in the response letter," he said.

"We hope that future relations between Hamas and President Abbas will be based on cooperation and dialogue," he added, without giving further details.

Abbas confirmed receiving the response letter from Haneya, also describing the meeting as "positive."

"He (Haneya) has also informed me of the latest efforts toward the formation of a new government," said Abbas.

The president also said that he had no objection to Haneya's request to extend the deadline to form a new cabinet for two weeks.

According to the Palestinian law, Haneya, who was formally tasked by Abbas with forming a government on Feb. 21, has three weeks to hammer out the cabinet hereafter and two more weeks if needed.

It was not clear yet how Hamas responded to demands made by Abbas in the accreditation letter that Hamas should open talks with Israel and accept interim peace deals.

Hamas, whose charter calls for Israel's destruction, has rejected Abbas' demands so far, insisting on armed struggle against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

Hamas is currently engaged in active talks with other Palestinian parties over the establishment of a national unity government.

But Abbas' Fatah movement, now the second largest parliament bloc with 45 seats, seems unlikely to join a Hamas-led cabinet.

Defeating the long dominant Fatah in the Jan. 25 legislative elections, Hamas has taken control of 74 seats in the 132-member parliament.

Source: Xinhua

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