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Hamas PM calls for unified Palestinian government with PA

Dec. 19, 2013 4:04 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 21, 2013 12:12 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the Hamas-run government in the Gaza Strip, invited Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday to a meeting to discuss the formation of a unity government.

In a speech he delivered to the al-Quds Scientific Conference in Gaza City, Haniyeh said it is necessary to discuss the political agenda of the hoped-for unity government, in line with a reconciliation agreement reached in Cairo in 2012.

Haniyeh stressed that the agenda of the unity government should be to protect Palestinian resistance and nonnegotiable principals, and to implement ideas that would help both Gaza and the West Bank.

Disagreement between Palestinians encourages the Israeli occupation to continue, Haniyeh said, adding that Palestinian rivalry should come to an end and be replaced by national unity and reconciliation.

"The only battle our people should fight is against occupation," Haniyeh said. "We should not be fighting any battles against Egypt or Ramallah or others."

Consensus on a joint political agenda is necessary to organize the work of all Palestinian nationalistic and Islamic forces, he added.

Hamas spokeswoman Isra Mudallal told Ma'an that Abbas has not yet agreed or refused to form a unity government with Hamas.

"The pressure is on the Palestinian Authority," Mudallal said. "Haniyeh has been calling for an agreement."

The two main rival Palestinian parties Fatah and Hamas have been on cold terms since 2006, when Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections.

In the following year, clashes erupted between the two parties, leaving Hamas in control of the Strip and Fatah in control of the West Bank.
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