Officials said Abbas intends to keep Fayad as prime minister under a
government with Hamas despite opposition from both Hamas and Fatah.
They said Abbas was persuaded by U.S. and European
Union leaders that Fayad was vital to maintain Western confidence in the PA, Middle East Newsline reported.
"Objectively, Salam Fayad should head the coming Palestinian
government," Jamal Muhaisen, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, said.
"He should be there as a head of the Palestinian cabinet in the coming
stage. This is a Palestinian vital interest."
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Officials said Abbas had been considering replacing Fayad as prime minister,
opposed by both Fatah and Hamas.
They said Abbas has already informed the
Fatah leadership of his choice of Fayad.
"Fayad's candidacy is currently under discussion between the various
Palestinian factions," Muhaisen said.
Officials said Abbas has stressed that neither Fayad nor his Cabinet
would deal with Israel or negotiate for an independent Palestinian state
in the West Bank. They said the PA chairman has assigned these issues to the
Palestine Liberation Organization.
"The new unity government will not have anything to do with the peace
process which will be solely handled by the PLO and the heads of the various
Palestinian political parties and factions," Muhaisen, in an interview with
the Abu Dhabi-based Gulf News, said.