Fatah, Hamas in Cairo soon for talks over forming new cabinet

08:26, May 13, 2011      

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by Saud Abu Ramadan, Fares Akram

Leaders of Islamic Hamas movement and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Fatah party are to head to Cairo Monday for bilateral talks, sponsored by Egypt, on forming a new independent Palestinian national unity government.

Azzam el-Ahmed, Fatah delegation chief told Xinhua that his party's delegation will hold the first meeting with Hamas delegation on Monday in Cairo over forming the new cabinet and implementing the inter-reconciliation agreement reached in Egypt on May 4.

"We will discuss the practical steps and the timetables for implementing the reconciliation agreement. The priority of the implementation will be for forming the new technocrats' cabinet that will run the internal Palestinian affairs for one year until the general elections are held," said al-Ahmed.

Following around four years of internal division between Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, and Abbas's Fatah party, the two groups together with eleven minor Palestinian factions signed last week an Egyptian-drafted pact of reconciliation.

Earlier on Wednesday, local media reports quoted well-informed sources as saying that Fatah and Hamas agreed that Abbas will be the prime minister of the new cabinet, while Hamas premier Ismail Haneya and Palestinian premier in the West Bank Salam Fayyad will be his deputies.

Al-Ahmed denied the reports, adding that "such reports are inaccurate and untrue. We haven't yet discussed any details and we haven't yet agreed upon the names of those who will be in the new government." Hamas had also denied that it had agreed on Fatah on anything related to the new cabinet.

"Such an agreement is not in our considerations at all because it contradicts with the reconciliation agreement," al-Ahmed said. "Leaking such roamers on the names of the new cabinet and the mechanism of forming it aims at undermining the efforts to finalize the reconciliation."

Fatah and Hamas agreed in Cairo to form a new national unity government where its Prime Minister and all its ministers are technocrats. Despite the leaked information, Fatah leader Nabil Shaath told a local Gaza-based Radio station that there are no problems facing the formation of the government.

"The nominee to be the prime minister must be agreed upon, and this person has to be an accepted person to the Palestinians, to the Arabs and to the West," said Shaath, adding that the new government has lots of missions that will prepare for the future of the Palestinian people.

Meanwhile, al-Ahmaed had earlier revealed to the Ramallah-based al-Ayyam daily on Wednesday that leaders of Hamas and Fatah party decided to hold the municipal elections in the Palestinian territories at the same time in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

El-Ahmed said that it was agreed to postpone holding the elections decided several months ago by the government of Fayyad in Ramallah. This decision came after the two movements suddenly reached an initial agreement for reconciliation in Cairo last week.

He said that it was agreed to demand the upcoming technocratic government to postpone the elections so they are held simultaneously in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

The Palestinian Central Elections Commissions (CEC) said it can run the elections in July in the West Bank, but needs more time to prepare for holding them in Gaza. The CEC agreed that voting in Gaza and the West Bank at the same time is possible after July.

Meanwhile, Nafez Azzam, a senior Islamic Jihad leader in Gaza said his movement would join the municipal elections and the elections of the Palestinian National Council (PNC).

"The Islamic Jihad will not join the presidential and legislative elections because they are an outcome of Oslo peace accords that the movement still opposes," said Azzam.

Source: Xinhua
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