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Archive for Monday, January 22, 2007

Leaders fail to agree on coalition government

January 22, 2007

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— Rival Palestinian leaders failed to resolve an increasingly bloody dispute between their movements and come up with a plan for a unity government.

But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said progress was made during their meeting Sunday night.

"There are still points of disagreement, but we will try to resolve them through a national dialogue until we form a national unity government," Mashaal said during a joint news conference with Abbas in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

The two sides stressed that recent Palestinian infighting, which has killed at least 62 people, was unacceptable and pledged to exert efforts to avoid political friction.

"We stress that dialogue is the only language allowed for solving our differences. ... It is not normal to fight," Mashaal said.

Hamas, which controls the Palestinian parliament and Cabinet, and Abbas' more moderate Fatah movement have been stuck in political deadlock since Hamas' victory in legislative elections last year.

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