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Palestinian president assigns academic to form West Bank gov't


08:18, June 03, 2013

RAMALLAH, June 2 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday assigned an independent academic, Rami Al- Hamadallah, to form a new government to replace the one led by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Abbas summoned Al-Hamadallah into his office on Sunday and assigned him to form the government, sources said, adding that the linguistics professor of Nablus' Al-Najah University accepted the designation.

The sources said that Al-Hamadallah would begin immediate talks to pick his ministers, with a three-week deadline in line with the basic Palestinian law. The formation of the new government has nothing to do with a reconciliation agreement between Abbas' Fatah party and Islamic Hamas movement in 2011. Under that agreement, Abbas was supposed to lead a unified transitional government until elections.

Upon accepting the resignation of the U.S.-backed economist Salam Fayad, Abbas said he would form a government in agreement with Hamas, which took over Gaza after routing pro-Abbas forces in 2007, but the two sides failed to agree on several outstanding issues.

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