DAVOS-Abbas: Hamas deal should take less than 3 weeks
Fri 26 Jan 2007 5:30 AM ET
DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Friday it should take no more than three weeks to reach agreement with Hamas Islamists on forming a national unity government,
Abbas repeated his threat to call for parliamentary and presidential elections if talks fail, but he did not say three weeks was a deadline for requesting a new ballot.
"We are at a junction now, either yes or no. I would tell you, this doesn't need more than two weeks, maximum three weeks," Abbas told a news conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Palestinian factions resumed talks this week on forming a new coalition with the aim of ending a Western aid embargo on the Hamas administration. Sanctions are designed to force Hamas to recognise Israel, renounce violence and accept past peace deals.
Similar talks broke down last year between Abbas's Fatah and Hamas, which won elections a year ago.
"If we fail to achieve a national unity government that allows us to lift the siege, I will call for presidential elections," Abbas said.
The Palestinian president also said he expects to hold talks with the United States and Israel within a month on the framework for establishing a Palestinian state.
"I don't have a specific date. Maybe it needs a month, within a month," Abbas said.
Any agreement reached on the final borders for a Palestinian state, which Abbas said must recognise the pre-1967 borders of Israel, would be sent to a referendum of the Palestinian people, he said.