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New government to be announced June 6

May 29, 2011 7:05 P.M. (Updated: May 31, 2011 1:22 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The composition of the new Palestinian Authority's technocrat government will be announced on June 6 by delegates from formerly rival parties Fatah and Hamas as a major step to the implementation of a unity agreement, an official said Sunday.

Member of the Fatah Central Committee Nabil Sha’ath told in Gaza City following a two-hour meeting with Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, that the new government, expected to be composed of independent figures for a term of one year, was a "good and positive sign," indicating a commitment to the implementation of the unity deal inked in Cairo on 4 May.

Sha'ath is in Gaza with several Fatah delegates to continue work on implementing the unity plan, as others remain in Cairo ironing out details of the new government.

He said the names of the new government would be presented to the Palestinian Legislative Council for approval. The body has essentially been defunct since 2007, when internal friction ended in a split between the leading Palestinian parties Fatah and Hamas.

The official also said he expected the issue of political arrests to be shortly concluded. Hamas regularly announces the detention of its members by Palestinian Authority forces operating in the West Bank, and says they are harassed for their political affiliation.

"The number of prisoners has already been reduced to so few," he said, that the underway process of setting up mechanisms for their release ahead of the unity government's installation should be swift.

Mohammad Awad, minister of foreign affairs and planning in the Gaza government, described the ongoing meetings between Fatah and Hamas as productive, saying discussions centered on the restoration of trust and a unified political environment.

"We want to speed up the steps," Awad said, adding that officials also wanted to make sure that the new government would represent the aspirations of the Palestinian people.

He said that Haniyeh had "expressed full commitment to the implementation of the unity agreement," and considered it a "strategic option and a national necessity," noting his disapproval of a series of speeches by Israeli and US leaders in Washington last week.

The meeting between factions was held in the government headquarters in Gaza City. The building currently houses cabinet meeting for the Hamas-lead government in the coastal enclave, and in the past Fatah officials had refused to meet in the location, gathering instead at the home of Haniyeh.

Sha'ath said part of the meeting included a presentation by Haniyeh on his vision for repair to the on-the-ground Palestinian division. The Fatah official was accompanied by members Zakareiyah Al-Agha, Diab Al-Louh and Amal Hamad.
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