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Mahmoud Abbas at swearing-in ceremony of the new unity government Photo: Reuters
Mahmoud Abbas at swearing-in ceremony of the new unity government Photo: Reuters
 
 

UN, EU, welcome Palestinian unity government

Following US claim of support, both UN, EU, express willingness to work with newly formed Palestinian government on condition it abides by commitments of recognition of Israel.

Reuters
Published: 06.03.14, 20:44 / Israel News

The United Nations and the European Union on Tuesday welcomed the formation of a new Palestinian unity government that came about thanks to a reconciliation deal between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah and Hamas Islamists.

 

 

"The secretary-general welcomes, on the basis of assurances provided both publicly and to the United Nations, the announcement on 2 June by President Mahmoud Abbas of the formation of a government of national consensus headed by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

 

"The secretary-general (Ban Ki-moon) takes note of the renewed assurances yesterday by President Abbas that the government will continue to abide by those commitments of recognition of Israel, non-violence and adherence to previous agreements," he said.

 

Washington's announcement that it would work with the new Palestinian government has set the United States on a new collision course with Israel, which has shunned the new cabinet in the Palestinian territories.

 

Setting a policy in line with US and European Union demands, the Western-backed Palestinian leader Abbas said his administration would continue to honor agreements and principles at the foundation of a peace process with Israel.

 

Hamas, which advocates Israel's destruction, has run the Gaza Strip since seizing the territory from Abbas' Fatah forces in a brief civil war in 2007. Numerous reconciliation efforts, largely brokered by Egypt, have failed over power-sharing.

 

"The United Nations stands ready to lend its full support to the newly formed government in its effort to reunite the West Bank and Gaza," Dujarric said.

 

He added that UN chief Ban "counts on a constructive approach by regional stakeholders, and hopes the international community will not relent in its support to the development of Palestinian economy and Israeli-Palestinian peace."

 

President Barack Obama's administration said on Monday it plans to work with and fund the new Palestinian unity government, and Israel immediately voiced its disappointment with the decision also criticized by some US lawmakers.

 

The European Union has also expressed a willingness to work with the new Palestinian government, on condition it sticks to the principle of peace with Israel based on a two-state solution.

 

"We welcome ... the declaration by President Abbas that this new government is committed to the principle of the two state solution based on the 1967 borders, to the recognition of Israel's legitimate right to exist," the EU said in a statement.

 

"The EU's engagement with the new Palestinian government will be based on its adherence to these policies and commitments," it said.

 

Israel renewed its criticism of the unity government.

 

"Hamas is a ruthless terrorist organization responsible for the murder of countless innocent civilians and an organization that says my country Israel should be destroyed," Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Tuesday.

 

"People who want peace, people who want reconciliation here in the Middle East should be calling upon the Palestinian leadership to annul this pact with Hamas and to return to peace talks." He did not directly refer to the EU position.

 

Israel's intelligence minister said the notion that the new cabinet was made up of technocrats rather than politicians - something that made it diplomatically easier for the West to deal with it - was bogus.

 

"You cannot present it internally as a Hamas government and present it on the outside as a technocrats' government," Yuval Steinitz told Army Radio.

 

"If these people are identified with Hamas, or are people with whom Hamas identifies and were appointed by Hamas then these are Hamas representatives."

 

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