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Shtayyeh: New govt is 'last chance' for Hamas

July 16, 2013 7:42 P.M. (Updated: July 18, 2013 10:37 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Hamas must end the national division by Aug. 14, when President Mahmoud Abbas will announce a new government, a senior Fatah official said Tuesday.

Mohammad Shtayyeh said the formation of the government was Hamas' "last chance" for national reconciliation.

"Hamas has to come and implement the terms of the reconciliation so we can end six years of division," Shtayyeh told reporters after a meeting with Carter Center director David Carroll.

Shtayyeh said Abbas will reform the government of caretaker Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Aug. 14 and call for presidential and parliamentary elections. Abbas accepted Hamdallah's resignation on June 23 after just over two weeks on the job.

Since 2007, Hamas has ruled Gaza, leading a rival government to Abbas' Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, which is dominated by Fatah.

At a meeting in Cairo on May 14, Fatah and Hamas agreed on a three-month deadline for establishing a unity government and setting an elections date.

Under the deal, the two sides were to have set up an interim cabinet of technocrats to prepare for elections, before establishing a unity government.

But the deal has stalled over persistent in-fighting over the make-up of the caretaker cabinet.
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