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Photostream : Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad meets with U.S. Senator John Kerry

US Senator John Kerry (C) waves as his arrives at the Palestinian Authority headquarters for a meeting with prime minister Salam Fayyad on March 22, 2011 in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Photo by ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (R) shakes hands with U.S. Senator John Kerry during their meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah March 22, 2011. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass, left, meets with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, March 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2011 in World News

 

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Salam Fayyad freezes cabinet reshuffle to make way for possible unity government

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad speaks at the northern West Bank village of Al-Jalameh Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011. Fayyad on Sunday angrily denounced the U.S. veto of a United Nations resolution condemning Israel's West Bank settlements and offered to form a unity government with the rival Hamas militant group. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)

RAMALLAH, March 22, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Palestinian Prime Minister- designate Salam Fayyad froze the reshuffle of his West Bank-based government to make way for President Mahmoud Abbas’ proposal to form a unity government with the Gaza Strip, an official said Tuesday, Xinhua News Agency reported.

“There has been nothing new with Fayyad’s authorization to reshuffle the government,” the official told Xinhua, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Fayyad will not resume negotiations with Palestinian technocrats, politicians and representatives of factions to join his government until at least Friday, when Abbas will return from an external tour, the official added.

The legal five-week period in which Fayyad should have completed the formation of his government ended Monday.

Last week, Abbas said he is ready to visit the Gaza Strip, controlled by Islamic Hamas movement, to form a technocratic unity government preparing for national elections within six months.

Abbas’ declaration came in response to an invitation by Ismail Haneya, head of the deposed Hamas government that rules Gaza. In 2007, Hamas ousted pro-Abbas forces and his Fatah party and took over Gaza.

Welcoming Abbas’ response, Hamas said it needs to resume dialogue with Fatah to resolve issues related to security, elections and the reform of Palestine Liberation Organization.

However, Abbas said his visit to Gaza is subject to Hamas’ acceptance of his proposal to form a transitional government until new elections are held.   (*)
 
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Posted by on March 22, 2011 in World News

 

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Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad calls on Hamas to accept Abbas' initiative

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad speaks at the northern West Bank village of Al-Jalameh Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011. Fayyad on Sunday angrily denounced the U.S. veto of a United Nations resolution condemning Israel's West Bank settlements and offered to form a unity government with the rival Hamas militant group. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)

PALESTINE, March 18, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM / THE DAILY STAR) — Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad Thursday urged Hamas to accept President Mahmoud Abbas’ initiative for reconciliation, Palestinian media reported.

Abbas said Wednesday he was “ready to go to Gaza tomorrow” to end the division between Fatah and Hamas, after the Islamist group’s prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, urged “immediate” talks.

Abbas also said he wanted to “form a government of independent national figures to start preparing for … polls within six months.”

Fayyad said forming a national unity government with Hamas was “the way toward ending the division and reuniting occupied Palestine,” the official Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.

“I call on the Hamas movement to start carrying on with procedures to end Palestinian division to pave the way for reconciliation,” he was quoted as saying.

Fayyad stressed that forming a new Cabinet was “a practical and definite procedure which will help Palestinians to achieve reconciliation,” Wafa said.

“President Abbas’ initiative can be immediately implemented and will help in reuniting the country. We can’t waste any more time and we should support it,” Fayyad added.

Hamas “welcomed the visit but did not welcome the initiative,” political analyst Khalil Shaheen told AFP. “Hamas wants a visit to open dialogue, not only to form a government.

“Hamas is afraid of going to elections without agreeing on other political elements because it fears it may be voted out in the same way it was voted in,” he said, referring to the Islamists’ landslide win in 2006 legislative elections.
The reconciliation moves came after tens of thousands of Palestinians rallied in both Gaza and the occupied West Bank to demand reunification.

But divisions remained obvious.

Hamas police in Gaza detained Thursday a Palestinian protester and two Palestinian cameramen after about 40 activists gathered in front of a U.N. school waving flags and chanting slogans for unity. The 16 other Palestinians rushed into the U.N. school compound, where Hamas police are prevented from operating. The protesters later departed peacefully after the U.N. reached an agreement with Hamas to allow them to leave without further harassment.

A coalition of independent Palestinian political figures announced Thursday preparations were under way for Abbas’ visit to Gaza, according to Palestinian news agency Ma’an. It reported coalition leader Yasser al-Wadieh as saying that “urgent consultations had been made to prepare the ground for Abbas’ arrival.” There has been no confirmation from Ramallah, it said.

The Arab League Thursday welcomed the moves by Abbas and Hamas.

In a separate development, masked Jewish settlers attacked and lightly wounded two Palestinian construction workers and an Israeli security guard in a West Bank settlement Thursday, settler officials and police said.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said investigators were looking into several different motives.

Also Thursday, residents of the Qedumim settlement torched the cars of two Palestinians working inside the settlement, Palestinian witnesses said. (*)
 
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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in World News

 

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Photostream : Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Bildt meets Palestinian Leaders

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) shakes hands with Sweden's Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt as they meet on February 28, 2011 in Ramallah, West Bank. Bildt met with Abbas following talks the previous day with the Jordanian King, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, which focused on European efforts to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. (Photo by Omar Rashidi/PPO via Getty Images)

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas (R) meets with Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Bildt at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah on February 28, 2011. (Photo by ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad (R) meets with Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Bildt at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah on February 28, 2011. (Photo by ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2011 in World News

 

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Photo : Prime Minister Salam Fayyad while heading the Palestinian Cabinet meeting

Prime Minister Dr. Salam Fayyad while heading the Palestinian Cabinet meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on January 25, 2011 ( Photo by: Mustafa Abu Dayeh / PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE )

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2011 in World News

 

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Photostream : Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad meets Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (R) meets with Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere (L) on January 12, 2011 Ramallah, West Bank. (Photo by Fadi Arouri-Pool/Getty Images)

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (R) shakes hands with Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere in the West Bank city of Ramallah January 12, 2011. REUTERS/Fadi Arouri/Pool

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (R) and Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere attend a news conference after their meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah January 12, 2011. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2011 in World News

 

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Palestinian aid dependence to dip in 2011 : Salam Fayyad

FILE : Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad

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RAMALLAH, West Bank, Jan 12 (KATAKAMI / Reuters) – The Palestinian Authority’s dependence on foreign aid will drop to less than $1 billion in 2011, from $1.2 billion in 2010, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Wednesday. Fayyad, a former World Bank economist, has reduced the territory’s annual dependence on international aid from around $2 billion since he took office in 2007. He wants to do away with foreign aid completely by 2013.

Financial support from the United States, the European Union and Arab states allows the Palestinian Authority to pay the salaries of around 150,000 bureaucrats, teachers and members of the Palestinian security forces.

“We expect that a deficit in this range (of less than $1 billion) … will be within the framework of what it is possible for the donors to finance,” he said.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, head of an international committee that oversees aid to the PA, praised Fayyad for lowering the foreign aid requirement. He was speaking alongside Fayyad at a news conference in Ramallah.

“I am looking forward to the day when I will stop any aid to the Palestinian Authority because I know that if this Palestinian economy will be run like any other economy it will do without aid,” he said.

The Palestinian Authority faced a financial crisis last year due to late payment of funds expected from its Arab backers. The crisis was eventually eased thanks to payments from states including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. (*)

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2011 in World News

 

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