Palestinian officials said Sunday that a high-profile meeting between the leaders of the rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas, set for Tuesday, has been called off.
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But officials from both sides acknowledge there are still disagreements over who the prime minister will be. They say the meeting has been postponed indefinitely.
The announcement signaled the reconciliation agreement, announced last month at a festive ceremony in Egypt, could face deep trouble in the coming months as the sides try to implement the deal. It is a definit setback to last month's unity deal at which time the parties pledged to end a four-year rift that has left the Palestinians with rival governments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
It's known that there are still differences," said Azzam al-Ahmed, the chief Fatah negotiator. "We will be in contact over the coming days to agree on a new date."
Abbas has proposed keeping his current prime minister, Salam Fayyad, in the post. Fayyad, a U.S.-educated economist, is well respected internationally and seen as critical in persuading Western donor nations to continue funneling hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians.
Although Fayyad is a political independent, Hamas says he is too closely allied with the West and must be replaced with a less identified figure. Some elements in Fatah also oppose Fayyad, believing his success in building up West Bank institutions has overshadowed Abbas.
Officials close to Fayyad said he is considering pulling himself out of the running. They said Fayyad feels that he is being used by both sides.
Roee Nahmias contributed to this report
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