President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas vowed on Wednesday to "speed up" work with Hamas to form a new caretaker government and to prepare for new elections. In an address to the Palestinian leadership marking seven years since the death of veteran leaderand the 23rd anniversary of their declaration of independence, Abbas promised to push ahead with efforts to form a unity deal between Fatah and Hamas.
"In order to expedite the implementation of the reconciliation, we will continue to make every effort to speed up the resolution of the remaining issues -- first among them the presidential and legislative elections, as well as those for the Palestinian National Council, and the formation of a government of independents to oversee the elections," he said.
"Achieving reconciliation is the desire of all our people... and I promise you all that we will do what we can to accomplish the reconciliation," Abbas said. "This issue and related political matters will be on the agenda of my meeting with... including the question of where are we going," Abbas stated.
President Abbas said that the US Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, David Hale, did not add anything new to the table after his meeting with Abbas on Monday in Ramallah regarding the halted peace process.
Abbas informed Hale that resuming direct negotiations requires the Israeli government to halt settlement activities and accept the concept of the two-state solution based on 1967 borders, said Hammad.
He stressed that US-Palestinian talks continue in line with efforts to resume the peace process, indicating a prior telephone call between Abbas and US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in which they discussed the Quartet meeting last week.
In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Taher al-Nunu welcomed Abbas's speech, AFP reported. "We welcome the positive spirit of this speech towards the reconciliation, the Hamas movement and national issues," he said.
Fatah and Hamas have agreed to hold joint elections which, according to preliminary information, should be held on May 4, 2012,Hamas spokesman added.
On his part,deputy political bureau chairman of Hamas Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk said Hamas and Fatah are trying to overcome all the obstacles hindering the formation of the government and the Declaration of National Unity.
Israeli Haaretz newspaper claimed that Palestinian sources said that "Fatah and Hamas" have agreed to form a government of technocrats without Salam Fayyad as its president.
Meanwhile, according to The Jerusalem Post, the Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has indicated readiness to step down, if this can persuade Hamas to strike a reconciliation deal with Fatah movement.