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Palestinian President, Hamas Leaders Meet on Forming New Government


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and top leaders of the Islamic militant group Hamas have opened talks on forming a new government.

Saturday's meeting at Mr. Abbas' presidential offices in Gaza City marked the first discussions between the two sides since Hamas' stunning victory in last month's parliamentary elections.

It was not clear whether Mr. Abbas had officially asked Hamas to form a government. Prior to the meeting, a spokesman said the Palestinian president would discuss the election results, among other things.

Mr. Abbas insisted Friday that a new Hamas-led government must respect previous commitments made by the Palestinian Authority. His comments came the same day the U.N. Security Council demanded that a new Palestinian government respect principles of a negotiated peace with Israel.

Hamas has faced international calls to renounce violence, disarm and recognize Israel.

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