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Fatah and Hamas start 2nd round of reconciliation talks in Cairo in disagreement

Appointing a PM for the Palestinian unity government is a priority, but a contentious one in their 2nd round of talks in Cairo, as Hamas has already rejected the Fatah candidate

Ahmed Eleiba , Tuesday 14 Jun 2011
In this file photo taken on March 17, 2007, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, left, and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh from Hamas, right, raise their linked arms as they move through the crowd at a special session of parliament in Gaza City, (AP).

The second round of reconciliation talks between the Palestinian factions started on Tuesday in Cairo under the auspices of Egyptian intelligence. 

Over the last few days Fatah and Hamas have disagreed on the prime minister who will lead the new unity government. Egyptian sources told Ahram Online that the talks will focus on sorting out that difference.

Fatah senior official Nabil Sha'ath also said that naming the unity government head is the number one priority in the second round of the talks with Hamas in Cairo. He added that President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to present the Fatah candidate today.

The Fatah Central Committee endorsed Salam Fayyad, the current Palestinian Authority prime minister, as their top candidate to lead the interim government.

Hamas has rejected Fayyad’s nomination for PM, saying that they won't accept Fayyad for prime minister or any ministerial post in the new government, adding that the new prime minister must never have been involved in violations against Hamas members.

Fatah leaders argued that Fayyad is the man for the job: he is an independent figure, a technocrat and largely respected and supported around the world.

Fayyad, 59, is an independent Palestinian economic figure and a former World Bank employee. He acted as Palestinian minister of finance in 2002 before Abbas nominated him as the prime minister of the Palestinian government formed after Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Palestinian observers and analysts warned of the consequences of this major dispute between Fatah and Hamas, saying it may harm the reconciliation pact efforts.

One of the Hamas negotiators, who preferred not to be named, told Ahram Online that the movement’s candidate is Jamal El-Khodary, who is currently the head of the committee working to break the Gaza blockade.

Meanwhile Ibrahim Darawy, Hamas senior official said it is important for Fatah and Hamas to sign the reconciliation in order to go to the United Nations in September united to seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state and break the blockade on Gaza.

The Egyptian-brokered pact was signed formally at a ceremony in Cairo on 4 May, which ended 4 years of division between Fatah and Hamas.

A priority of the reconciliation pact is forming an interim government to administer the Palestinian territories and pave the way for presidential and parliamentary elections within a year.

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© 2010 Ahram Online.