Friday, September 29, 2006

Palestinian source: US thwarting PA unity

Senior Palestinian source tells Ynet difficulties revealed during talks between Abbas and Hamas regarding unity government surfaced shortly after PA president met with US consul general in J’lem; ‘Americans asked Abbas to dissolve parliament, prepare for elections,’ he adds

"A senior Palestinian source told Ynet Thursday that “pressure applied by the United States on (President) Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) is preventing the establishment of a unity government in the Palestinian Authority.”

According to the source, difficulties in the talks between Abbas and Hamas regarding a unity government began to surface shortly after Abbas’ meeting with US consul general in Jerusalem, Jack Wallace, a few days before the president left for the US to attend the opening of the UN General Assembly.

The source added that during the meeting Wallace communicated to Abbas the unequivocal message that the US opposes the establishment of a unity government.

Wallace told Abbas that he would hear the same message during his meetings with President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The source said the Americans made it clear to Abbas that the correct move from their standpoint would be to dissolve the parliament and establish an interim Palestinian government followed by general elections.

The US asked Abbas to better prepare Fatah for the next elections, according to the source.

The Americans further requested that Abbas not cooperate on the transfer of funds to be used for the payment of salaries to PA officials prior to the Ramadan holiday, as this would be credited to the Hamas-led government.

The officials are expected to receive an advance on their salaries over the weekend.

The source said the current chances for the establishment of PA unity government are slim, despite the fact that Abbas supports such a move. As a result, the sources said, the situation in the Authority is likely to deteriorate to a direct confrontation between Hamas and Fatah. The fact that some family members of senior Fatah officials have left the PA is indicative of the expected eruption of violence, the source said."

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