Abbas begins talks to form Palestinian national government

Ramallah, April 27 (IANS) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas began discussions Saturday to form a national government, reported Xinhua citing the official Wafa news agency.

The government would be formed in accordance with deals brokered between Abbas’ Fatah party and Hamas in Doha and Cairo in the past couple of years, Abbas said in a statement.

The government is supposed to rule the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and to prepare for holding general elections, including polls within the bodies of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), he said, calling on all Palestinian factions to cooperate with the formation of the government.

Abbas also said the government would be a technocratic interim body comprising independent figures.

Salah Al-Bardawil, a spokesperson for Hamas, however, said the Islamic movement is unaware of Abbas’ efforts to form the government.

Al-Bardawil said Hamas would welcome the move only if the national reconciliation was achieved as “one package” that settles all outstanding issues.

The Gaza Strip has been controlled by Hamas since it routed pro-Abbas forces in 2007.

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