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Middle East

New Palestinian Authority cabinet sworn in

New Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah says cabinet will rule until a unity government between Fatah and Hamas is formed.

Last Modified: 06 Jun 2013 18:18
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The 24-member cabinet remains largely unchanged from its predecessor [AFP]

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has sworn in a new government headed by prime minister Rami Hamdallah.

"This is my government and you have all my trust and protection," Abbas said to the new cabinet members in broadcast remarks.

"This government will work hard in the time available to it, whether it be weeks, months or whatever."

Hamdallah succeeded Salam Fayyad, who resigned in April after months of difficult relations with President Mahmoud Abbas and stayed on in a caretaker capacity until Hamdallah's appointment on Sunday.

The new line-up, announced on Thursday, sees two deputy premiers take office, a high-ranking Palestinian official told AFP news agency.

The cabinet is composed of 24 members, according to the local Ma'an News agency.

Hamdallah, a political independent and linguistics professor, stressed that his administration would rule only for "a transitional period" until formation of a unity government comprising Abbas's Fatah faction and the rival Hamas movement, which governs Gaza.

Such a coalition is laid out in as-yet unfulfilled unity agreements signed in Cairo in 2011 and in Doha the following year.

At a meeting in Cairo on May 14, Abbas and Hamas set a three-month time frame to implement key provisions of the 2011 agreement.

"Let's be optimists and hope that we can achieve a unity government on August 14, and I will do everything in my power to do so," Hamdallah said.

"I ask all Palestinian factions to work together to end this sad situation of division."

Banker and economist Shukri Bishara have taken over the finance ministry, and Kamal al-Shirafi, from Gaza, is the minister of social affairs.

Ali Zaydan, head of Gaza's Al-Aqsa University and the Arab American University in Jenin in the West Bank, has moved from the transport and communications ministry to that of higher education.

Nabil al-Dumeidi has taken over Zaydan's old portfolio.

Medics unionist Jawad Awad is the new health minister, and the local government ministry is headed by Saed al-Kuni.

All the other ministries remain in the same hands, the official said, with 15 ministers being sworn in in front of Abbas at his headquarters in Ramallah.

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