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PNA govt. must resign in 2-3 days to form new cabinet - Abbas

RIA Novosti

13/02/2007 19:40 AMMAN, February 13 (RIA Novosti) - The Palestinian government must resign in the next few days to form a new Cabinet in accordance with an agreement the two leading parties reached in Mecca last week, the country's leader said Tuesday.

The president-led Fatah movement and the Islamist group Hamas, which won elections in January 2006, reached an agreement on the structure of a new power-sharing Cabinet at Saudi-sponsored negotiations in Mecca. The compromise was designed to avert civil war and restart a constructive dialogue with Israel.

"If nothing surprising happens, we will follow our program and demand the government's resignation in the next two or three days and instruct the premier to form a new government on the terms agreed in Mecca," Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), told the Russian president at an airport in Amman, Jordan.

Vladimir Putin is on an official visit to Jordan, the third and last leg of his brief Middle East tour.

Putin responded by saying that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict could be resolved by observing the Mecca agreements and by returning an Israeli soldier captured by the Palestinians in June to exchange him for Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Hamas was one of the groups that claimed responsibility for the seizure.

"The agreements reached [in Mecca] must be observed inside the PNA as a pre-condition for further steps toward resolving the conflict with Israel," Putin said.

Abbas is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in mid-February.



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