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Haniyeh Insists Progress Being Made on Unity Gov't

Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh insists progress being made on unity government, "even if it is slow."
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 6/30/2011, 10:41 PM / Last Update: 7/1/2011, 4:46 AM

Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh on Thursday insisted progress is being made to implement the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement "even if it is slow," the PA-run Maan News Agency reported.

Hamas and Fatah signed a unity agreement on May 4, formally ending a years-long feud. However, a meeting in Cairo to finalize the formation of a unity government has now been postponed.

Officials from both factions say talks stalled over a leadership row. Hamas rejected Fatah's nomination of Salam Fayyad for the post of Prime Minister in the new unity government.

However, regional observers suggest pervasive budget crises and Hamas' sentiment that 'politics are bad for terrorism,' may also be at the heart of delays.

Hamas is unwilling to recognize Israel or honor any pre-existing agreements the PA has signed, including the Quartet's requirements for its own inclusion in the PA apparatus - going so far as to say any peace agreement with Israel would only serve as a prelude to war.

Hamas and Fatah are also split over PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ current bid for a unilateral declaration of PA statehood by the United Nations in September – a move opposed by the United Sates.

Jordan has also said it will oppose the move.

Haniyeh said that despite the delay, the feud would not resume "under any circumstance."

"We were partners in blood and we could be partners on all levels," Haniyeh said. "The conciliation is progressing even if it is slow."

 "We are determined to achieve unity," he added.

Click here for an op-ed on the subject of the Hamas-Fatah unity. The op-ed was written by David Singer, an Australian lawyer and convener of the Jordan is Palestine International organization.