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US promises to delay recognising Palestinian unity government

The Obama administration has promised Israel that the US would not immediately recognise the Palestinian unity government, which is expected to be announced on Monday.

Spokesperson of the US State Department Jen Psaki told reporters at a press briefing on Friday: "We will not make decisions until we see the final formation of the interim [Palestinian] government and have the opportunity to assess and make a determination about whether this is a government we can work with."

Israel's newspaper Ha'aretz reported on Monday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the US position to his cabinet on Sunday, citing two ministers at the meeting.

Netanyahu has been openly asking world leaders not to recognise any Palestinian government that includes Hamas. "I call on all responsible elements in the international community not to rush to recognise a Palestinian government which has Hamas as part of it and which is dependent on Hamas," Reuters news agency quoted Netanyahu as saying to his cabinet on Sunday.

"Hamas is a terrorist organisation that calls for Israel's destruction, and the international community must not embrace it. That would not bolster peace, it would strengthen terror," Netanyahu added.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told reporters on Saturday that Israel "informed us today they would boycott us if we announced the government," Reuters also reported.

Abbas insisted that a unity government would continue to abide by his policy of recognising Israel, even though Hamas has vowed that it would not change its own policy of resistance.

The Jordanian newspaper Al-Arab Al-Yawm reported on Sunday that Kerry and Abbas are scheduled to meet in Amman on Wednesday. According to a senior Jordanian official, they will discuss several issues, including the stalled peace talks and the Palestinian unity government.

The official cited did not say whether or not Kerry is going to visit Israel to meet with Netanyahu.


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