Xinhua (Interview)
February 28, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Ismail Haneya, head of the deposed government of Islamic Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip, said in a special interview with Xinhua on Monday that Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party have agreed to give more time to form the new transitional unity government.

At his office in Gaza City, Haneya told Xinhua that leaders of Fatah and Hamas movements had bilaterally agreed in Cairo to give the consultations on forming the new unity government some more time until the two sides come up with a final decision.

"There is an accordance on having more consultations until we succeed in forming a government," he said.

Haneya gave Xinhua the interview as he received on Monday at his office in Gaza the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Maher al-Taher, who came from Damascus to Gaza on Sunday for the first time in 30 years.

Haneya said he had just come back from Cairo, where he held talks with Abbas and attended the meeting of the temporary leading body of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), adding that " during the meeting of the PLO, forming the government wasn't discussed."

He denied that there are internal disputes and differences in Hamas movement, and also denied that Hamas had imposed new conditions on forming the unity transitional government to be chaired by Abbas according to an agreement signed early this month in Doha, Qatar.

"I believe that the Palestinian people are in need for a final decision related to forming the government in accordance with all national and Islamic factions," said Haneya, who called for ending trading accusations between the two movements, adding that "We need to calm down the atmosphere for reconciliation."

Over the weekend, the two rival groups traded accusations on who is the party that blocks the implementation of the reconciliation pacts reached in Cairo last year and in Doha this year. Fatah officials said Hamas asked to postpone forming the government, while Hamas leaders blamed Fatah.

The Doha agreement, which was signed between Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal and Abbas, ended disputes between Fatah and Hamas on who will be the premier of the new unity government, but is believed to have created differences among senior Hamas leaders, including the Hamas leadership in Gaza led by Mahmoud al-Zahar.

Abbas held a series of meeting in Cairo last week with Mashaal and all the members of Hamas politburo, but failed to agree with them on the immediate formation of the new unity government to end more than four years of internal split between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Mashaal agreed that Abbas, the president of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), would be tasked with forming and heading the new government, as well as limited missions related to preparing for the general elections and reconstructing the Gaza Strip.

Asked if he is planning to run for the post of Mashaal, the current Hamas chief who has announced that he is not intending to run for the post in the upcoming Hamas politburo elections, Haneya said that "Mashaal is the head of the politburo and Inshallah (God willing) will be the head of the politburo."

The post is the highest rank in Hamas movement, and usually the chief of the movement or the head of the politburo is secretly chosen by what is called the Shura Council, where the council takes in consideration, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, the Diaspora and the Israeli prisons.

Media reports have earlier said that there are differences between Hamas leaders in the Palestinian territories and abroad after Abbas and Mashaal signed the deal to adopt a peaceful resistance to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Haneya and Mashaal's deputy, Musa Abu Marzooq, are the two string candidates that may replace Mashaal. However, it is still unclear when the Shura Council will elect a new chief of the Hamas politburo.

Haneya also declined to say if he intends to run for the post of PNA president in the upcoming general Palestinian elections, which was agreed to be held in May. The elections might be postponed until the two rivals manage to form the new government.


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