CAIRO, (Reuters) – Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said on Thursday that talks on a Palestinian government of national unity would not run into a dead end. “The atmosphere (in the talks) has been somewhat tense but I am confident that the door must not be closed and we will not reach a dead end,” Haniyeh, a leading member of the Islamist movement Hamas, told a news conference in Cairo.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday that the talks on a unity government with Hamas were at a dead end.
Hamas and Abbas’s minority Fatah group have been at odds over the distribution of the ministerial portfolios and over whether the next cabinet should reflect the political balance, which is strongly in favour of Hamas.
Haniyeh said: “When you have a parliamentary bloc which is the biggest than certainly it has the premiership and it must have a presence in the sovereignty ministries. This is where the gap has appeared.” The sovereignty ministries include the interior ministry and the foreign ministry. “Contacts have not been broken off with President Abu Mazen (Abbas) and certainly not between Fatah and Hamas and the other factions to find a way out on this subject,” he added.
Hamiyeh is in Egypt at the start of an Arab tour, his first since taking office in March.