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23 April 2024

Abbas to head interim Palestinian government


Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will lead an interim national consensus government to prepare for upcoming elections, under an agreement signed on Monday in the Qatari capital.

The "Doha Declaration" was signed by Abbas and Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal in the presence of Qatar's emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani in Doha.

The agreement states that the new Palestinian government will comprise "independent technocrats," and will also be responsible for overseeing reconstruction efforts in the Gaza Strip.

The new government will be responsible for the "smooth implementation of presidential and parliamentary elections," according to the declaration which was read out to reporters.

It did not specify when the elections will be held.

The declaration came after two days of talks between Meshaal and Abbas on issues arising from a reconciliation agreement signed by the two factions last April.

A separate meeting that will bring together all other Palestinian factions will be held in Cairo on February 18.

"That's when we'll set the date for the parliamentary and presidential elections," a Palestinian official told AFP before Monday's declaration.

Among other major issues to be decided in Cairo are elections for the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organisation which does not include Hamas, the official said.