Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged Hamas yesterday to relent in a dispute over the formation of a Palestinian unity government, saying its bid to become a United Nations member state in September was at stake.
Abbas's Western-backed Fatah movement and Islamist Hamas formally ended a four-year feud in April but remain split over the president's insistence that his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, head the proposed new cabinet of political independents.
"We want to go to the United Nations united, and we have to understand, and Hamas and others have to understand, that this government isn't a nationalist government - it is a technocrat government," Abbas told Voice of Palestine radio.
"They (Hamas ) do not understand that we are subject to very sensitive and fateful conditions," he said. "We are entering a very tough battle at the United Nations and they are thinking in terms of 'this minister is for us, and that minister is for you.'"
"I told Hamas and others that Fayyad was simply a man of sufficient experience, and that he has been a prime minister and a minister of finance for years and that he was the right man for this stage," Abbas said.
Fatah insists the president can nominate his own prime minister, and officials say in private that Abbas is eager to keep Fayyad to allay Western concerns over allying with Hamas.
Hamas wants a new figurehead for government and has been dismissive of the moves at the United Nations.
Meanwhile, the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators - the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - is scheduled to meet on July 11, a senior U.N diplomat said Friday.
The meeting, expected to take place in Washington, will come amid a U.S. push to revive peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
A round of secret meetings with U.S. envoys aimed at getting the two parties back around the table, even as Abbas affirmed his plan to win Palestinians U.N. recognition, has not achieved any breakthrough.
Abbas said yesterday that the United States should not have the power to veto decisions by its partners in the Quartet for Middle East peace.
"It is not right that three members agree on everything, then the U.S. comes and vetoes them," he told Voice of Palestine radio.
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