Thursday, November 09, 2006

Haniyeh tells Arab MKs unity PA gov't talks progressing well

I feature this report from ('our' award winning) Yoav Stern, as it is vital that the Palestinian leaders reach an arrangement that will allow the diplomatic process to move forward in a constructive manner once again. The suffering in Palestine will not ease unless a workable compromise is found. These negotiations have been, perhaps understandably, dragging on for a considerable amount of time. I greatly welcome the fact that yesterday's deaths have not been used as a decoy to scupper them. It remains to be seen if the resulting Palestinian administration will be able to establish legitimacy both internally and internationally, but I eagerly await the outcome, although by now faith in statements regarding any sort of timeline for this is gone... here's hoping that a workable result emerges soon.

By Yoav Stern and Avi Issacharoff, Haarez Correspondents

MKs Ahmed Tibi and Ibrahim Tzartzur (Ra'am-Ta'al) met Thursday noon with Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza City.

Haniyeh told the MKs that talks between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority on establishing a unity government are at an advanced stage. The basic principles of the new government have already been agreed upon, the Palestinian premier said.

Haniyeh added that he would not continue serving as prime minister in the new government.

In another meeting on Thursday, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Haniyeh spoke with MK Mohammed Barakeh (Chadash) and the Balad party MKs Azmi Bishara, Jamal Zahalka and Wasal Taha.

Abbas said in the meeting that "Israel's government is comfortable with the current situation and is attempting to undermine any advance towards the assembly of a unity government (in the Palestinian Authority)."

Abbas and Haniyeh said they hope to reach a final agreement over the unity government by next week.

The Saudi newspaper Al Watan reported Thursday that Hamas will present three candidates for leading the unity government.

Hamas' runner up is Zaher Kuhail, President of Palestine University International in Gaza, and Abbas has already been informed about his candidacy.

The two other candidates are Khaled al-Hindi, secretary general of the Islamic University and Mohammed Shabir, President of the Islamic University in Gaza.

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