Abbas to resume unity government talks with Hamas
Updated: 2006-09-24 18:59

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would head for Gaza on Monday to hold talks with Prime Minister and senior Hamas leader Ismail Haneya over resuming talks on forming a national unity government, Palestinian official said on Sunday.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told reporters that Abbas' visit would focus on resuming talks on setting up a coalition government to replace the incumbent Hamas-led one which was agreed by both Fatah and Hamas earlier this month.

Abbas "would make it clear for Hamas that the national unity government needs to meet international demands," Erekat said.

On Sept. 11, Abbas announced that an agreement was reached with the ruling Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, to form a national coalition government.

However, Hamas said it refused to meet conditions put forward by the Middle East quartet of recognizing Israel, renouncing violence and abide by previous peace deals when Abbas was attending the UN General Assembly in New York earlier this week.

Officials from Abbas' Fatah movement accused Hamas of "embarrassing the president before the international community" especially after their agreement on forming the national unity government.

After meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo on Saturday, Abbas said efforts with Hamas to form a national unity government have gone "back to zero".

"We and Hamas had agreed on the formation of a national unity government before my U.S. visit," Abbas said, adding that he was struck by tens of Hamas statements that were opposed to the agreement.

Abbas made it clear that he would resume national unity talks when he returned home. "We will return to the negotiating table to see what we can do," Abbas said.