Date registered: Sep 2004
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Location: Inside my head
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A burdened hand is worth Abbas and the Bush
Abbas to meet with Bush next week khaled abu toameh and jpost staff, THE JERUSALEM POST Sep. 16, 2006
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are to meet in New York next week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, a Palestinian official said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev had no comment on the report. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said delegations led by Abbas and Livni would meet next week, but he wouldn't say when or what would be on the agenda.
Earlier Saturday, PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said that the political program of the proposed Palestinian national unity government does not include recognition of agreements that were previously signed between Israel and the Palestinians.
Meanwhile, PA officials said that Abbas was expected to meet with US President George W. Bush in Washington on Wednesday to brief him on his efforts to form a national unity government with Hamas.
"The program does not talk about recognizing agreements that were signed with the Israeli occupation," he told reporters in Gaza City. "Instead, it mentions that we will have to accept these agreements in accordance with the national interests of our people. This does not mean that the new government would recognize these agreements."
Haniyeh hinted that there were still some differences between him and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas over the program of the unity government. "We're still holding consultations with all the factions, including Abbas, and there is a need to reach an agreement on a number of things," he said.
PA officials told The Jerusalem Post over the weekend that the US was unhappy with the agreement that was reached between Abbas and Haniyeh over the formation of a national unity government. They said Washington relayed its position to Abbas through the Saudi leadership and the US Consul-General in east Jerusalem.
US opposition to the national unity government has prompted Abbas to postpone the dismissal of the Hamas-led government. Abbas was scheduled to fire Haniyeh's government last week to pave the way for the formation of a national unity government.
However, sources close to Abbas said he was worried about the US opposition to the unity government. "The Americans are not enthusiastic about the Abbas-Haniyeh agreement because they believe the political program of the unity government is not clear enough," said one source. "They want a firm commitment that the unity government would honor all agreements signed with Israel."
Hamas has made it clear that while it is prepared to "deal" with the agreements with Israel, it will never honor them. Hamas has also stressed that the unity government's program does not recognize Israel's right to exist. Abbas, on the other hand, argues that the program is based on the 2002 Arab peace plan that implicitly recognizes Israel.
Abbas, who is expected to attend a special United Nations session later this week, is planning to meet with Bush and 15 other heads of state on the margins of the session. According to his aides, he will seek the backing of the international community for the national unity government and will reiterate the PA's readiness to resume negotiations with Israel on the basis of the road map plan for peace in the Middle East.
Abbas said over the weekend that the unity government would be formed only after the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit and all the Hamas officials who are being held in Israel. Hamas officials said negotiations over the formation of the unity government could last three to four weeks.