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Hamas will not join unity govt without minister of prisoners

June 2, 2014 10:51 A.M. (Updated: June 3, 2014 3:23 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas will not agree to form a unity government that does not include a ministry and minister for prisoners' affairs, a spokesman said Monday.

Sami Abu Zuhri told Ma'an that Hamas has officially notified Fatah that the movement will not join a government that does not include a ministry of prisoners.

"Hamas movement won't agree to announce a unity government without a ministry and a minister of prisoners, and Fatah has already been notified of that irrevocable decision."

Abbas had earlier said that the ministry of prisoners would be replaced with an independent body, with other officials suggesting that the US could withdraw funding from the PA if the ministry was not dissolved.

The unity government is expected to be sworn in on Monday at 1 p.m. in the presidential headquarters in Ramallah.

An April 23 agreement between Hamas and the PLO paved the way for the formation of a government of national unity for the first time in seven years, but Israel has strongly opposed the deal on the basis that Hamas rejects its right to exist.

Abbas, however, has repeatedly pointed out that the national unity government will adhere to previous PA and PLO policies which recognize Israel.
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