World Bulletin / News Desk
Gaza-based members of the new Palestinian unity government on Tuesday participated in a first cabinet meeting in Ramallah via videoconference after having been barred by Israeli authorities from leaving the strip one day earlier.
Four ministers from Gaza gathered at Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) headquarters in Gaza, where they were able to participate in the cabinet meeting via videoconference, new Palestinian Women's Affairs Minister Haifa al-Agha told Anadolu Agency.
Members of the new 18-member cabinet were sworn in on Monday by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
The move came in line with a recent reconciliation agreement between Abbas' Fatah movement and rival Palestinian faction Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.
On Monday, Israel prevented the four new ministers from travelling to the West Bank to attend a swearing-in ceremony.
"We hope to travel soon so we can be sworn in [in Ramallah] and legally assume our responsibilities," al-Agha said. "Meeting our fellow ministers for the first time via videoconference is something that could only happen in Palestine as a result of Israeli intransigence."
At their virtual meeting on Tuesday, new cabinet members discussed the ongoing Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip – now in its eighth year – and the return of government employees to work after a seven-year hiatus, al-Agha 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 called for the formation of a national unity government to serve until legislative and presidential polls can be held in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.Last Mod: 03 Haziran 2014, 14:30