Fayyad Says He Won’t Stand in Way of Reconciliation With Hamas

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said he will not stand in the way of reconciliation with the Islamic Hamas movement, which has ruled out joining a government he leads.

“It is time to end division,” Fayyad told the Jerusalem-based Al-Quds newspaper in an interview published today. “I call upon all factions and political parties to agree on a new prime minister. I was never an obstacle to the implementation of the reconciliation and I refuse to be used as a pretext for continuing the split.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the secular Fatah movement, and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal signed an agreement in May aimed at healing a four-year breach between the two groups and forming a joint government for both the West Bank and Gaza. Follow-up talks faltered over the insistence by Hamas that Fayyad not continue as prime minister.

Fayyad, an economist who previously worked for the International Monetary Fund, was appointed prime minister in 2007 by Abbas after Hamas broke from the Palestinian coalition with Fatah and took control of Gaza. Hamas has accused him of being too cooperative with Israel and the U.S.

Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the U.S. and European Union.

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