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Abbas Reiterates Election Timetable, Sees Hamas Talks Next Month

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his aim of holding elections in May and said he would meet again with Hamas next month.

Abbas, whose Fatah party governs the West Bank, wants to see a “national unity government” among Palestinians that is technocratic and independent, he said at a press conference today in Vienna. Austrian President Heinz Fischer, whose country supported the authority’s bid for United Nations membership, offered to host a Palestinian embassy in the capital.

Khaled Mashaal, who leads the Hamas Islamic movement that controls the Gaza Strip, signed an accord with Fatah six months ago calling for an interim government in which the factions share power, with a vote to held within a year. Since then, the two sides failed to agree on details of a governing arrangement.

The U.S., the European Union and Israel consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization.

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