RAMALLAH, (Xinhua): Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday accepted the
resignation of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, a senior Palestinian source told Xinhua.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Abbas accepted Fayyad’s
resignation, “but asked him to be an acting premier until the formation of a transitional unity
At a meeting between Abbas and Fayyad in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Abbas initially
rejected Fayyad’s resignation and asked him to continue in his post. But at the end of their
meeting, due to Fayyad’s insistence, Abbas accepted the resignation and asked him to act
as the premier of the Palestinian National Authority ( PNA) until the formation of a unity
government, the source told Xinhua.
A date for forming the transitional Palestinian unity government hasn’t be set up yet. Azzam
el-Ahmad, a senior official in Abbas’ Fatah Party, said in earlier statements that forming a
new government would need Abbas to issue a presidential decree.
El-Ahmed told “Voice of Palestine” Radio that Abbas will soon issue two decrees: the first
one is on forming the transitional unity government; and the second on setting up a date for
holding elections in the Palestinian territories.
The source said that President Abbas accepted 61-year-old Fayyad’s resignation despite
pressures from the United States, mainly made by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
According to the source, Fayyad presented his official letter of resignation to President Abbas
last week and waited for Abbas’ response.
Differences between Abbas and Fayyad have flared up recently, as Abbas insisted on
bringing back the PNA finance minister, Nabil Qasis, who resigned from his post two months
ago, said the source.
Omer al-Ghoul, an aide to Fayyad, earlier told Xinhua that Fayyad’s resignation will only be
valid once President Abbas issues a decree on forming a transitional unity government and
sets up a date for holding elections.
Observers said that although the implementation of reconciliation understandings between
Hamas and Fatah has been stuck, recent developments would help finalize the reconciliation
and end Palestinians’ internal division.
When the Hamas movement violently seized the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007, Abbas
deposed the government headed by Hamas and appointed Fayyad, a veteran economist,
as prime minister of a caretaker government. Since then, Fayyad has led three caretaking
Ismail Haneya, Hamas government’s premier, refused Abbas’ appointment of Fayyad and
insisted on staying at his post.