Emad Drimly
November 15, 2011 - 1:00am

A senior member of the Fatah Party said Tuesday the party could drop the nomination of Salam Fayyad as premier for the unity government during the upcoming reconciliation dialogue with Islamic Hamas movement.

Hamas welcomed its rival's decision and said it would ease implementing an Egypt-brokered reconciliation pact in Cairo on May 4. The movement has been ruling Gaza after it seized the enclave by force in June 2007 and routed Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' forces.

The Fatah member told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that the party decided not to insist on Fayyad, the current prime minister of the caretaker government in the West Bank, to be nominated as premier of the unity government that was agreed to be formed after implementing the pact.

"If insisting on Fayyad ... would be an obstacle for implementing the reconciliation agreement, we would refrain from this because we are in an urgent need for a unity government due to the current political developments," said the Fatah official.

On Monday, Fayyad called on the Palestinian factions, mainly the rivaling Fatah and Hamas, to agree on the post of new prime minister and overcome their differences, saying "it's time to end the status of internal division and ... if I'm an obstacle, the factions have to agree on a new premier."

"I have never been one day an obstacle for achieving reconciliation and I refuse to be used as an excuse to keep division going on," Fayyad told reporters in Ramallah on Monday. " The first priority is to succeed reconciliation, because without it, we won't be able to build up our independent state."

Meanwhile, Jamal Mheisen, a Fatah central committee member, told Xinhua on Tuesday morning that Fayyad's statements "is an important development that would help in achieving progress in the dialogue."

Hamas and Fatah leaders had earlier announced that President Abbas and Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal are scheduled to meet in Cairo next week to push forward the implementation of the reconciliation pact.

"We are not intending to declare our stances before the meeting is held, but the most important thing is that Fatah will discuss with Hamas movement all the details related to the differences that face the implementation of the pact and seriously discuss solutions to implement it," Mheisen said.

After the Palestinians failed in their bid for a full United Nations membership, Palestinian officials said that they have to implement the reconciliation pact immediately, form a new unity government, and prepare for general elections.

Since the two rival groups signed the pact on May 4, they had been arguing over the nomination of the new premier. Fatah has been insisting that Fayyad should lead the government, which was strongly rejected by Hamas who said it won't accept Fayyad even as a minister.

Fayyad, a veteran and prominent economist close to Abbas and late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, has managed over the past eight years to build up the institutions of the future Palestinian state and arrange a sound financial and economical situation.

Meanwhile, Salah al-Bardaweel, a senior Hamas leader based in Gaza, told Xinhua that enhancing the formation of the unity government "would achieve a breakthrough in the other reconciliation files, mainly the issues of security, elections and the public social reconciliation."

"Hamas has been always against the nomination of Fayyad as the premier for the unity government from the very beginning because no party has the right to impose its vision on the other, mainly in the details of the reconciliation pact. Everything has to be done in accordance," said al-Bardaweel.

Azzah el-Ahmed, chief of the Fatah delegation to the dialogue with Hamas, told Voice of Palestine Radio on Tuesday that Fatah agreed with Hamas to hold the general elections as it was agreed in the reconciliation pact.

According to the pact, the transitional unity government which will exist for one year is tasked to hold general presidential and parliamentary elections. During the one-year-mission, issues on security and society reconciliation will be achieved.


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