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Palestinian PM offers to quit, easing way for unity gov't

Source: Reuters - Fri, 25 Apr 2014 17:22 GMT
Author: Reuters
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RAMALLAH, West Bank, April 25 (Reuters) - Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah offered his resignation on Friday, the official news agency WAFA said, a move which may pave the way for a unity government agreed between President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas.

Israel on Thursday suspended peace talks with the Palestinians, saying it could not negotiate with an administration that embraces a militant group sworn to Israel's destruction.

"I present my resignation, and the government is in your excellency's hands whenever you wish," WAFA quoted the prime minister telling Abbas.

Hamdallah, whose role is limited to domestic governance, offered his resignation last year in a dispute over his powers, but retracted it shortly after.

The reconciliation pact agreed between Hamas and Abbas's Fatah party on Wednesday envisions agreeing upon a government of independent technocrats within five weeks and holding elections six months later.

No national polls have been held since Hamas won parliamentary elections in 2006, leading to a brief war between Hamas and Fatah the next year in which the militant group seized control of the Gaza strip.

In the political vacuum which followed, Abbas personally appointed Hamdallah and his predecessor Salam Fayyad, while Hamas's own prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, has served in Gaza.

(Reporting By Noah Browning, Editing by Ori Lewis and Angus MacSwan)

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