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Fayyad denies criticizing Palestinian leadership

May 4, 2013 10:16 P.M. (Updated: May 25, 2013 4:16 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Caretaker prime minister Salam Fayyad on Saturday denied criticizing the Palestinian Authority, a day after an interview published in The New York Times quoted him calling the Palestinian leadership a failure, official news agency Wafa reported.

"The statements in the article are just journalist Roger Cohen's personal impressions, and certainly not the words of Fayyad, who did not make any statements or conduct interviews for the New York Times or any other newspaper or agency since his resignation," a statement from Fayyad's office read.

Roger Cohen's article, published Friday, directly quotes Fayyad as saying that the Palestinian Authority is broke, the Palestinian leadership is a failure and Fatah will break down.

"Our story is a story of failed leadership, from way early on," the former prime minister said in the interview.

"It is incredible that the fate of the Palestinian people has been in the hands of leaders so entirely casual, so guided by spur-of-the-moment decisions, without seriousness. We don't strategize, we cut deals in a tactical way and we hold ourselves hostage to our own rhetoric."

Fayyad added in the interview that Israel's occupation remained the biggest problem, and that his state-building efforts and transformation of the security situation were not reciprocated by Israeli measures.

"The Israelis have not rolled back the occupation gene. Let's make sure our Bedouin population in the Jordan Valley has access to drinking water before we discuss final arrangements. This is a right-to-life issue for Palestinians."

Fayyad's office reportedly asked that the article not be published as an interview with the premier, Wafa added.

Fayyad resigned on April 13 and is acting as caretaker prime minister, but will leave office completely in three to four weeks, he told the New York Times.

The ex-premier pinned his resignation on difficulties with President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party, as well as Israeli intransigence.
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