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Palestinian Authority PM offers resignation

Two weeks after being appointed to form new government, Rami Hamdallah offers resignation to PA president.

Last Modified: 20 Jun 2013 15:40
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Hamdallah was appointed to head the West Bank-based PA after Salam Fayyad resigned in April [AFP]

The newly appointed Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has offered his resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas, a government source said.

Hamdallah "presented his resignation in writing to the president following disagreements with his two deputies," a PA official told the AFP news agency on Thursday on condition of anonymity.

It was not immediately clear whether Abbas was likely to accept the resignation of the 54-year-old who was named to the position on June 2 following the resignation of Salam Fayyad.

Abbas had asked Hamdallah, the former head of al-Najah University in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Nablus, to form a new government.

A new 24-member cabinet under Hamdallah's leadership was sworn in on June 6.

Upon accepting the nomination Hamdallah quickly pledged to follow a similar path to Fayyad and said he would leave the government line-up largely unchanged.

He made clear he would quickly step aside in the summer after the formation of a government of national unity comprising Abbas's Fatah party and its rival, Hamas.

Fayyad himself resigned in mid-April after months of difficult relations with Abbas that reached a crisis over the resignation of finance minister Nabil Qassis, which the premier accepted but the president did not.

That power struggle resulted in Fayyad stepping down but staying on as caretaker prime minister upon Abbas's request, with his term drawing to a close on June 2.

‘Looking forward’

Washington and Europe welcomed the appointment of Hamdallah, who on Wednesday had held his first meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Congratulating him on his new position, Ashton pledged to continue European economic support and also support for the peace process.

"I am very much looking forward to working with you and as I said, I wish you every success," she told him, in remarks communicated by a spokesman.

US Secretary of State John Kerry seeks to revive peace talks after a nearly three-year hiatus.
During his last visit at the end of May, Kerry pledged to push through a $4-billion plan to develop the Palestinian economy.

Washington's top diplomat is to return to the region next week to continue pushing the two sides to find a way back to direct negotiations which broke down in September 2010, just weeks after they were relaunched.

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Source:
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