Abbas, Kerry discuss Palestinian unity over phone

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has rejected the formation of a national unity government that does not include a ministry for prisoners' affairs.

Abbas, Kerry discuss Palestinian unity over phone

World Bulletin / News Desk

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas received a phone call Sunday from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during which they discussed the Palestinian unity government and the future of the Middle East peace process.

Abbas said the unity government will be formed of independents and will abide by his political program, according to the official Wafa news agency.

"The main task of the government is to prepare for new election," Abbas said.

In late April, Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and Fatah, which rules the occupied West Bank, hammered out a reconciliation deal with a view to ending the rifts that have marred their relations since 2007.

The deal stipulates the formation of a national unity government to serve until legislative and presidential polls can be held in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators – which resumed in Washington last July after a nearly three-year hiatus – collapsed in April.

The talks hit a snag one month earlier after Israel refused to release 26 Palestinian prisoners despite earlier pledges to do so. Abbas retaliated by formally applying for Palestinian membership in 15 U.N. conventions and agencies.

Israel has since announced a raft of punitive measures to be taken against the Palestinians after Abbas' Fatah movement after signing the reconciliation deal with Hamas.

Hamas rejects any gov't without ministry for prisoners

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has rejected the formation of a national unity government that does not include a ministry for prisoners' affairs.

"Hamas' final position is that there must be a ministry for prisoners in any national accord government," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement late Sunday.

He added that his movement has clarified its position on this issue to Fatah movement, which rules the occupied West Bank.

Fatah has yet to comment on the statement.

Khalil al-Hayeh, a member of Hamas' politburo, had earlier cautioned that the insistence of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to substitute the prisoners ministry with an independent agency affiliated directly to the Palestine Liberation Organization would delay the new government formation.

In late April, Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and Fatah hammered out a reconciliation deal with a view to ending the rifts that have marred their relations since 2007.

The deal stipulates the formation of a national unity government to serve until legislative and presidential polls can be held in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Abbas is expected to announce the new cabinet later on Monday.

Last Mod: 02 Haziran 2014, 10:08
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