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Fatah says govt formed within hours, Hamas warns it could take days

May 29, 2014 5:17 P.M. (Updated: May 29, 2014 10:29 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A senior Fatah official said on Thursday afternoon that a government of national consensus would be decided upon and made public in the coming hours, as negotiators from both sides are working out the last disagreements.

Faisal Abu Shahla told Ma'an that the differences between Hamas and PLO representatives were being overcome and that the composition of the new government would be announced from the presidential headquarters in Ramallah in the coming hours.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, however, said on Thursday that ongoing negotiations to form the government could potentially still need "several days" in order to be finalized.

Earlier Thursday, Abbas announced that current premier Rami Hamdallah would serve as the prime minister in the national unity government, which when announced will end seven years of political division between the largest Palestinian parties.

Palestinian officials said that the announcement of the lineup was held up over the foreign affairs portfolio.

"The government is ready, but there is only one problem, and that is that Fatah and Hamas reject Riyad al-Malki as foreign minister, something Abbas is insisting on," an official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Malki is a veteran diplomat who has served as foreign minister since 2007.

But a source close to Hamas said the Islamist movement wanted the post to be held by Ziyad Abu Amer, one of two deputy premiers currently serving under Hamdallah.

AFP contributed to this report
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