Palestinian unity talks break off without pact | india | Hindustan Times
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Palestinian unity talks break off without pact

india Updated: Nov 19, 2006 03:23 IST
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Unity talks between Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, prime minister Ismail Haniya and the man tipped to be the new premier ended on Saturday without agreement, a Palestinian source said.

Abbas, from the moderate Fatah movement, Haniya from the Islamist Hamas and his "neutral" replacement Mohammed Shubair declined to comment on the Gaza City talks, but presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said they had focused on "all the details connected to the national unity government."

"Things are going well," Abu Rudeina said. "We are going in the right direction and are close to reaching an agreement."

Meanwhile, senior Fatah and Hamas officials wrapped up a three-hour meeting aimed at hammering out the details of a future national unity cabinet, also without reaching a final agreement.

A Fatah official said at the beginning of the meeting that all sides had agreed that Hamas would have nine cabinet posts and that Fatah would have six. Smaller factions would take four seats, the official said, while independents would have five.

He added that discussions were continuing over distribution of the most sought-after cabinet posts, such as the interior and foreign ministries.

Abbas has promised a national unity government by the end of November. Palestinians hope a new government, headed by independents rather than the Islamist Hamas movement, which refuses to recognise Israel or renounce violence, can help end a punishing West-lead boycott of the Palestinian Authority imposed after Hamas came to power in March.