Early elections

Abbas had said that the deployment of foreign troops was necessary to provide security for early parliamentary and presidential elections that he plans to organise in the coming months.

Ghazi Hamad, a Hamas spokesman, said talks about elections at the present time will not solve the crisis facing Palestinians.       

Hamad did however say that Hamas has no issues with holding elections if all Palestinian factions agree to it.

 

France backs Abbas

 

Meanwhile, France threw its unconditional support behind Abbas and said it hoped the crisis in Gaza would help reignite the stalled peace process.   

 

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"At this time we are standing alongside the Palestinian Authority, the only representative of the Palestinian people," Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister, said after talks with the visiting Abbas.


Kouchner did not say what role Hamas might play in any peace steps but Abbas appeared in no mood to talk to the Islamic movement.
   

"What happened in Gaza is a bloody and ferocious coup d'etat against Palestinian legitimacy," Abbas told reporters following an earlier meeting on Friday with Sarkozy.
   

"What I heard from president Sarkozy is support for a political solution on the basis of international legitimacy, the Arab initiative, and [US] President [George] Bush's vision," he said.
   

France announced this week it was releasing $15 million in funds for the Palestinian Authority and Kouchner said he believed the Israelis were shortly set to transfer "at least" $300 million to Abbas's new government.
   

Israel agreed last Sunday to hand over some of the Palestinian tax revenues it had collected but then withheld after Hamas won elections in 2006. However, details of the transfer have yet to be fully worked out.