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New Palestinian Government Sworn In


A new Palestinian government in the West Bank has been sworn in.

The new cabinet took the oath of office Tuesday at Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

The government consists of about two dozen ministers and is composed mainly of members of the Palestinian faction Fatah - but none from its rival Hamas.

Hamas officials on Tuesday called the new government "illegal" and said it poses an obstacle to reconciliation talks between the two factions.

Officials say Western-backed Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will maintain his position in the new government and will head the cabinet.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who heads Fatah, formed a government in the West Bank shortly after the violent takeover of the Gaza Strip by Hamas in 2007.

Mr. Abbas also dismissed Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and his cabinet that was part of the unity government between Hamas and Fatah.

The rival Palestinian factions have since been trying to work out their differences. On Monday, they ended a fifth round of reconciliation talks in Cairo without a resolution.

The two sides have failed to agree on a range of issues, including the creation of a unified security force, holding new elections and working with neighboring Israel.

Hamas does not recognize Israel's right to exist, while the Fatah-led Palestine Liberation Organization says it is open to talks with the Jewish state.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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