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PM Salam Fayyad : Ready to leave post

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Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Saturday that he will quit his post as soon as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party and the Islamic Hamas movement agree on the nomination of a new premier.

Fayyad said on his page on the social website of Facebook that he awaits the instructions to leave his post as the prime minister of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), adding that “I have never imposed myself on the Palestinians in any of the governments I had chaired.”

Fayyad was first appointed as a premier, after Abbas deposed the Hamas-led unity government in June 2007. Abbas justified Fayyad’s nomination due to the “basis of national emergency,” while the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), or the PNA parliament, did not confirm it.

The internationally respected Palestinian economist and politician was reappointed by Abbas in May 2009 in a government reshuffle. He has also been the finance minister from March 2007 and had previously held the same post from June 2002 to November 2006.

The major dispute between Fatah and Hamas since they signed in May the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation pact is the formation of a transitional unity government and the reappointment of Fayyad as its premier. Hamas strongly opposes Fatah’s recommendation to nominate Fayyad.

However, senior leaders of the tow rival groups announced last week that Fatah decided not to insist on reappointing Fayyad as the premier of the new transitional unity government. The two groups’ leaders have been intensively working on overcoming their differences.

Azzam el-Ahmed, chief of the Fatah delegation to the dialogue with Hamas, told Voice of Palestine Radio from Beirut that Abbas and Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal will hold a historic meeting in Cairo on Thursday to declare an agreement on forming a new unity government without Fayyad.

El-Ahmed, who held talks in Cairo with Meshaal’s deputy Musa Abu Marzooq over the past two weeks to prepare for the Abbas- Meshaal summit, said the two groups’ delegations managed to put the final touches on the agenda of the meeting.

“The meetings were very positive and there has been an accordance on very important issues that have political dimension that pave the road for implementing the reconciliation agreement,” el-Ahmed said, “There was accordance to hold the general elections as it was agreed in May 2012.”

The Egyptian-brokered pact of reconciliation signed in May in Cairo called for forming a one-year transitional unity government to rehabilitate the security apparatuses, prepare for the legislative and presidential elections in May 2012, and lift the more than four years of blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Youef, a former political advisor to the premier of the deposed Hamas government, which rules the Gaza Strip, has earlier told the London-based newspaper al-Quds al- Arabi that there had been an agreement between Fatah and Hamas that the office of the new government’s premier will be in Gaza.

“The headquarters of the president and the parliament are in the West Bank, so it is logic that the office of the prime minister has to be in Gaza in order to enable the new premier to freely move through Egypt without asking the permission of the Israeli occupation each time he wants to leave,” said Yousef.

However, el-Ahmed denied what Yousef stated, saying that “This issue hasn’t been debated or presented on the dialogue table by our brothers in Hamas. The headquarters of the Palestinian National Authority are in Ramallah and we refuse the logic of the geographical distribution because we are one country.”

Yousef also said that his Hamas movement backs the Palestinian bid for a full United Nations membership, adding that “all the Palestinians need to unify their political decision as all factions, including Hamas and Fatah, had agreed on accepting an independent Palestinian state on the territories of 1967.”

Mohamed al-Nahal, a member of Fatah’s revolutionary council, revealed to the Bethlehem-based Maan news agency that Abbas and Meshaal will declare the formation of a transitional unity government after their meeting scheduled on Thursday, adding that Abbas will visit Gaza soon.

“It was well-prepared for the meeting (between Abbas and Meshaal) during the marathon sessions of dialogue held in Cairo between Fatah and Hamas leaders over the past couple of weeks,” al- Nahal said, “Well and responsible preparations for the meeting will certainly give positive results.”

El-Ahmed, Yousef and al-Nahal declined to reveal the name of the new Palestinian premier who would replace Fayyad. All of them insisted that all depends on the success of the meeting between Abbas and Meshaal, who are both in need of implementing the reconciliation agreement.

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