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Palestinian Ministers Resign in Step Toward Forming Unity Government


Palestinian ministers from the ruling Islamic group Hamas resigned late Wednesday, a step toward forming a unity government with the moderate Fatah party.

A government spokesman says the ministers handed their portfolios over to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas. Mr. Haniyeh will next hand in his resignation to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah.

Mr. Abbas said Wednesday Mr. Haniyeh will retain his post in the unity government and noted it will be formed soon.

Hamas and Fatah agreed this week to form a unity government in an effort to persuade Western nations to lift economic sanctions imposed when Hamas came to power earlier this year.

The United States has voiced skepticism about the power-sharing deal. The State Department said the plan does not appear to meet international conditions for the resumption of aid.

Hamas has refused international demands to renounce violence and recognize Israel. The U.S., Israel and the European Union designate the group a terrorist organization.

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