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Abbas to Swear in Palestinian Emergency Government

  • VOA News

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to swear in a new prime minister and emergency Cabinet Sunday, replacing the Hamas-led unity government he fired after the group's bloody takeover of the Gaza Strip.

Mr. Abbas of the Fatah faction, who is in the West Bank, appointed former Finance Minister Salam Fayyad as the new prime minister Friday -- after dismissing Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas.

But Haniyeh is ignoring his dismissal and says his government will continue to exercise its duties.

Meanwhile, members of the so-called Mideast Quartet of peace mediators pledged their full support for Mr. Abbas.

In a statement Saturday, the Quartet - the European Union, Russia, the United States and the United Nations - called for an end to the violence in Gaza. They also urged that humanitarian goods be allowed to flow into the coastal strip.

In Cairo, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said his country recognizes only one Palestinian government - that headed by President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.
During an emergency meeting in Cairo Friday, Arab foreign ministers agreed to form a committee to analyze the situation in Gaza and report back to the Arab League.

Meanwhile, in the West Bank, hundreds of gunmen from the Palestinian Fatah faction stormed Hamas-controlled institutions Saturday, planting the Fatah flag on the roof of the parliament building in Ramallah.

The gunmen also seized control of the city council in Nablus and expelled Hamas officials and their staff, telling them not to return.

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