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12 Sep, 2006 09:44

No talks with Israel: Palestinian denial

No talks with Israel: Palestinian denial

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh denied any possibility of talks with Israel. Reuters news agency quoted him saying any talks “have to do with the Palestine Liberation Organisation and not with the government.”

Hamas had been reported as saying the new Palestinian coalition government was ready for peace talks with Israel. This followed an announcement by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of a plan to dissolve the current Hamas-led government and form a national unity government including his Fatah party.

Premier Haniyeh confirmed forming a coalition government but details are still not clear. 

When Hamas was voted into power in January elections, the West and Israel accused it of being a terror group and cut off millions of aid dollars. Palestinians now hope the international community will lift sanctions and resume assistance.

The U.S. and the European Union said they would work with a unity government if it met certain conditions. These include recognition of Israel, renunciation of violence and acceptance of a peace agreement signed by Palestine and Israel.