Senior officials of Fateh and Hamas movements resumed their talks on
the formation of a national unity government. The two movements held an
extended meeting last night that concentrated on the distribution of
the ministerial posts.
Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyya and his predecessor Ahmad Qorei participated in the first session and confirmed that the talks will be expanded to include all Palestinian blocs and factions.
Haniyya added that Hamas will provide all needed elements to ensure successful talks that would lead to a national Unity Government.
Meanwhile, Qorei said that the new government will be respected and trusted by the Palestinian people, the Arab and Islamic worlds.
Also, Palestinian independent Legislator Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi intends to meet with Khaled Mashal, the Hamas political bureau chief in Syria. The two will discuss the continuous efforts and the latest developments on the formation of the new government.
Initial reports revealed that Dr. Mohammad Shbeir, the previous head of the Islamic University in Gaza City, might be appointed as the head of the Palestinian National Unity Government.
Shbeir's name was proposed by Hamas and was accepted by the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas.
Shbeir, 60, was not yet officially requested by Abbas to form the government, he is a well known Islamic independent figure who enjoys good relations with the Islamic and national factions.
Shbeir has a doctorate in microbiology from the University of West Virginia; he is not identified as a member of any Palestinian organization but is considered close to Hamas movement.
Meanwhile, Palestinian sources reported that the upcoming cabinet of experts will most likely be filled by moderate figures who are also acceptable to the United States.
The Al Quds Arabic daily newspaper published on Monday an interview with Olmert on Monday in which he states that he is willing to talk with Hamas if the movement accepts the conditions of the international community.
Olmert added that in the past Israel refused any talks with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and considered it a terrorist group, but now it holds talks with its representatives, including its leader Mahmoud Abbas.