PLO: Talks with Hamas, Islamic Jihad Begin on New Government

A committee appointed by the Palestine Liberation Organization began talks with both Hamas and Islamic Jihad on Saturday on forming a new national unity government, a committee member told Ma’an.

Hanna Amireh, who is also a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said that discussions were including Hamas and Islamic Jihad with the aim of including the movements in the new government.

However, Amireh added that if negotiations and consultations with Hamas fail, a decision to form the government without the movement could be made.

He said that President Mahmoud Abbas will decide on who will head the new government, although he added that no individuals have been selected yet.

The committee is being headed by senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad and has been given a time period of one week for discussions. Amireh said that more time will probably be necessary.

He added that independentPalestinian factions will also be consulted.

The dissolution of the current unity government was announced earlier this month at an annual Fatah council meeting, although the government has yet to hand in its resignation.

Hamas condemned the move, claiming it was a unilateral decision by Fatah in violation of the 2012 Cairo agreements between Fatah, Hamas, and the Palestinian National Council.

However, the unity government that was formed last June out of the agreements has repeatedly failed to overcome divisive issues between the two rival parties.

While there has been talk of a government reshuffle for months, it is expected that the new government will have a completely different structure, with factional leaders replacing independent technocrats.

Amireh claimed on Saturday that Hamas had declared conditional approval of a government formed but not entirely comprised by the PLO, of which neither Hamas nor Islamic Jihad are members.

However, Hamas announced separately on Friday that the PLO “isn’t the right body to form a government.”

“In light of what has been circulated about the PLO’s Executive Committee tasking Azzam al-Ahmad with conducting consultations over the formation of a new government, Hamas calls upon all factions signatories of the Cairo agreement to start comprehensive dialogue,” the group said in a statement Friday.

(Ma’an – www.maannews.net)

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