Fatah, Hamas postpone talks on unity gov’t
AFP PhotoPalestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his rival Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal postponed talks on forming a unified government, a Fatah official said Feb. 23, in a further delay to ending an almost five-year rift.
“The internal splits within Hamas have cast a shadow on the meetings and Hamas is not able to implement the agreement signed in Doha. Its leaders have asked to delay discussions on forming the government,” said the official who declined to be named. The official said Hamas has set new terms for implementing the deal. “Hamas demanded to keep the key ministries in the new government, including the ministry of interior,” said the latter. “It also demanded no change in the structure of security services in the Gaza Strip.”
Abbas has been seeking a unity government staffed by independents and technocrats to ensure it would not be boycotted by the West, which donates essential funds to his Palestinian Authority and refuses to deal with Hamas over it hostility toward Israel. Another official said that Hamas, which has been split internally on agreeing the unity government with Fatah, has “not yet informed Abbas of its formal approval to end internal disputes on forming the government.” Abbas and Mashaal agreed in Qatar this month to form a unity government led by Abbas.