Palestinians discuss unity government

The ruling Hamas party and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, have agreed to start negotiations on forming a coalition government.

    Haniya (L) and Abbas met to discuss a coalition government

    "We are on our way to reaching solutions. One of them provides for the creation of national unity government based on the 'national accord' document," Abbas said after meeting Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian prime minister.

    Haniya voiced his hope that the talks would be successful.

    He said the talks would be conducted "on the basis of the prisoners document with the aim of strengthening national unity, lifting the siege on our people and obtaining the release of the ministers and lawmakers" detained by Israel.
      
    The "prisoners' document" is a reconciliation project drawn up in June by jailed Palestinian leaders from Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
     
    Recognition of Israel

    The document implies recognition of the state of Israel, calls for an end to attacks against Israel and the creation of a Palestinian national unity government.

    Many countries have refused to deal with the Palestinian government unless it explicitly recognises Israel, renounces violence and backs previous peace agreements with Israel.

    The US, Canada, Israel and the European Union have imposed a financial embargo on the Hamas government making it unable to pay the salaries of 165,000 civil servants and public employees for several months.

    Hamas prisoners

    Haniya has previously said that his acceptance of a national unity government depends on the release of dozens of Hamas officials - including eight ministers and several MPs - captured by the Israeli army in late June.

    Israel detained the Palestinian officials after fighters killed two Israeli soldiers and captured one during a raid.

    Clashes between fighters loyal to Abbas's Fatah party and Hamas supporters have left several people dead since the Islamist group won elections in January.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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