Palestinian president may be ‘leaning toward’ dismissal of PM Fayyad

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Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad may be soon dismissed by President Mahmoud Abbas, a Fatah member told AFP news agency on Friday, as the party officially criticized the premier’s government for the first time.

Abbas “is leaning towards dismissing Fayyad from the head of the government and forming a new one,” a member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council said on condition of anonymity.

He said the key factor was a disagreement over the resignation of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority’s finance minister, which Abbas refused to accept but Fayyad consented to.

“Abbas informed Fayyad that if Nabil Qasis did not return to the finance ministry... Abbas would dismiss his government and form a new one,” the official said.

Fatah’s Revolutionary Council -- one of the party’s governing bodies -- also officially criticized Fayyad’s government for the first time on Friday.

“The policies of the current Palestinian government are improvised and confused in many issues of finance and the economy,” it said in a statement.

Abbas appears to be stepping up his diplomatic moves this week.

On Friday, Abbas demanded that Israel's prime minister present a map for a future Palestinian state before any peace talks can resume, an aide said on Friday.

Abbas “wants to know, through a map to be presented by Benjamin Netanyahu to [U.S. Secretary of State John] Kerry, what the prime minister's view of a two-state solution would be, especially the borders,” political adviser Nimr Hammad told AFP.

The remarks came just days ahead of a visit by Kerry, who will hold fortnightly meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, local media say, as he tries to revive the stalled peace process.

“Any return to negotiations requires Netanyahu to agree on 1967 borders,” Hammad said.

Abbas has insisted that participation in new talks be conditioned on using the lines that existed before the 1967 Six-Day War as the basis for negotiating future borders.

Abbas also repeated to Barack Obama, on his first visit to the region as U.S. president in March, that a halt to Israeli construction in Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem was a precondition for any peace negotiations.

Expectations are growing that the U.S. administration is ready to resume some kind of shuttle diplomacy to rekindle the peace process, which has stalled since 2010.

Kerry accompanied U.S. President Barack Obama on his first official visit to the region several weeks ago and, after Obama left the region,

Kerry stayed behind and met PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Amman. He then traveled to Jerusalem for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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