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PLO official: Unity government talks 'reached an impasse'

June 29, 2015 10:50 P.M. (Updated: July 18, 2015 4:38 P.M.)
Chief Palestinian negotiator Azzam Al-Ahmad (R) of the Fatah movement and Hamas’s exiled deputy leader Mousa Abu-Marzuq in Cairo, in September 2014. (MaanImages/File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Talks to form a new unity government have "reached an impasse," the head of a PLO-appointed committee leading the talks told Ma'an Sunday.

Azzam al-Ahmad, who is also a member of Fatah's central committee, said that a meeting had been scheduled with President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday to address the political deadlock.

Meanwhile, a Hamas spokesman alleged that the talks had not actually begun beyond "some phone calls."

Al-Ahmad's announcement came in response to comments made earlier Monday by senior Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouq, who said his movement found it "unacceptable" that the PLO had taken charge of forming a new government.

Al-Ahmad's PLO-appointed committee began consulting Palestinian factions on forming a new government on Saturday, nearly two weeks after the dissolution of the current government was announced on June 16.

While there has been talk of a government reshuffle for months, it is expected that the new government will have a completely different structure, with factional leaders replacing independent technocrats.

However, Abu Marzouq said Monday that any unity government should be a "non-political" entity, carrying out tasks agreed upon by all factions.

He added that it was "unacceptable that the government adopts the agenda of the PLO."

However, al-Ahmad told Ma'an that he had received contradictory messages from Abu Marzouq over the last two days.

He said that while the Hamas leader initially told him over the phone that his movement supported a non-political government, he later laid down additional, conflicting conditions.

Al-Ahmad said that Abu Marzouq's conduct demonstrated a "lack of seriousness" in forming a new unity government.

The Fatah official added that he doubted a unity government would be formed.

Al-Ahmad said that the PLO Executive Committee would meet with President Abbas on Tuesday to discuss the impasse, with all PLO members attending the meeting.

Hamas is not included in the PLO.

Following Al-Ahmad's comments, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri issued a statement in which he alleged that talks to form a new government had not even begun.

He said: "All that happened were some phone calls in which Fatah tried to impose its doctrines based on its false delusion that it owns the Palestinian people, and that it alone can decide whatever it wants regarding the Palestinian issue."

Zuhri said that it was "silly" of Fatah to believe it could put Hamas in a corner.

Relations between Fatah and Hamas have been strained since Hamas won legislative elections in 2006.

Clashes the following year left Hamas controlling the Gaza Strip and Fatah the West Bank.

After a succession of agreements, the two rival parties formed the current government last June.

Ultimately, however, it failed to overcome divisive issues, and was largely unable to operate in Hamas-dominated Gaza.

Hamas has blasted the Fatah-led PA in the West Bank for failing to follow through on promises to Palestinians in Gaza.

Earlier this month, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said there had been neither humanitarian nor economic progress in the coastal enclave a year after the government's formation.
Legal Eagle / Australia
Simple solution to the 'impasse' - ELECTIONS
29/06/2015 23:15
Troy McGuire / Canada
"reached an impasse," is this some kind of euphemism in Arabic, for no longer licking each others back bottom.
29/06/2015 23:20
Arnold / Canada
It is like the children's song. The wheels on the bus go round and round. round and round. We have been at this party several times already. Aren't you bored.
30/06/2015 00:10
Outlier / USA
Time - actually well past time - for elections. Maybe better, smarter, more pragmatic leaders will emerge.
30/06/2015 00:56
spb / usa
Shocking, I am speachless
30/06/2015 02:15
Tibi / Tubas
"Reaching an impasse" was inevitable, where just as
Assad's government will not give-up power to Syrian rebels,
the PLO government will not give-up power to Hamas, and
the Hamas government will not give-up power to PLO.
30/06/2015 02:34
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