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Haniyeh: Unity govt disputes 'under control'

May 30, 2014 9:10 P.M. (Updated: June 1, 2014 12:35 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said on Friday that disputes about the formation of the unity government are "under control," a day after a Hamas spokesperson warned that the process could still take days.

The statements came a day after the PLO and Hamas said they were close to clinching a deal on the shape of the national coalition government that they had promised to form within 5 weeks of an April 23 unity deal.

The only two remaining points of contention are the ministry of detainees, which president Abbas wants to dissolve but Hamas refuses to, and the choice of the appointment for the foreign minister.

Haniyeh said during a Friday prayer sermon in Gaza that the most important steps had already been taken in forming the unity government and that negotiations are ongoing to reach an agreement on the points of disagreement.

Haniyeh added that "there is no turning back in regards to achieving reconciliation."

Haniyeh said that the ministry of detainees is "unwavering," and is important to keep, especially in light of the ongoing open hunger strike launched for 37 days by more than 100 Palestinian administrative detainees.

"We do not want to deal a blow to their morale by removing the ministry of detainees," he added, saying: "This cause must remain a priority, and we hope to reach a point of agreement on this with our brothers in Ramallah, so we can overcome this."

When the national unity government is formed, it will bring an end to seven years of Palestinian political division.
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