New Palestinian government to be formed in days: officials

Mohammad Shtayyeh, above, and Mahmoud Abbas will decide which members will join the new government. (AFP/File)
Updated 08 April 2019
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New Palestinian government to be formed in days: officials

  • Experts President Abbas still holds the decision-making power
  • Other movements will join Fatah in the new government

RAMALLAH: Palestinian prime minister-designate Mohammad Shtayyeh will announce the make-up of his new government in the coming days, Palestinian officials said Monday.
Shtayyeh has until April 14 to form a new government which is expected to exclude all supporters of Hamas, longtime rival to the Fatah movement of both Shtayyeh and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
Analysts say real decision-making power remains with 84-year-old Abbas, in power since 2005.
Abbas on March 10 charged Shtayyeh with forming the new government, replacing Rami Hamdallah’s technocratic administration which had the nominal backing of Hamas.
The movement controls the Gaza Strip, while the Palestinian Authority Abbas heads is based in the West Bank, where Israel also maintains a military occupation.
Five smaller factions will also join Fatah in the new government, officials said.
Others, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, refused to take part.
Deputy president Mahmoud Aloul told AFP a meeting would be held Monday evening between Shtayyeh and Abbas to decide on candidates for remaining ministries.
He said agreements had been reached over which factions would control which ministries.
Hamas has criticized the formation of the government, accusing Fatah of a power grab.
Hamas and Fatah have been at loggerheads since the Islamists seized control of the Gaza Strip in a 2007 near-civil war, a year after winning parliamentary elections.
Palestinian politics has effectively been frozen since, and multiple reconciliation attempts have failed.
Former government minister Shtayyeh has been part of a number of Palestinian negotiating teams in US-brokered talks with Israel.


Iran commemorates war with parade of tanks, missiles

Updated 23 September 2019

Iran commemorates war with parade of tanks, missiles

  • Saudi Arabia and the US have accused Iran of a Sept. 14 drone and missile attack on oil facilities

JEDDAH: As Saudi Arabia prepared to celebrate its National Day with entertainment events, firework displays and cultural events, Iran staged a military parade in Tehran on Sunday with tanks, missiles and armored vehicles.

President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian military leaders saluted as ranks of soldiers marched past them in tight unison, followed by an array of military hardware.

Among the weapons on display in the parade, held to mark the anniversary of the start of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, was an upgraded warhead for the Khorramshahr ballistic missile, said to have a range of 2,000km, and the Kaman 12 drone with a range of 1,000km. Speedboats and warships were shown in video footage on state TV.

Saudi Arabia and the US have accused Iran of a Sept. 14 drone and missile attack on oil facilities in the east of the Kingdom. After the attack the Pentagon ordered US troops to reinforce Saudi air and missile defenses.

In a speech at Monday’s parade, Rouhani denounced the US presence. “Foreign forces can cause problems and insecurity for our people and for our region,” he said.

“If they’re sincere, then they should not make our region the site of an arms race.

“Their presence has always brought pain and misery ... the farther they keep themselves from our region and our nations, the more security there will be.”

The US aims to avoid war with Iran and the additional troops are for “deterrence and defense,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday.

“If that deterrence should continue to fail, I am also confident that President Trump would continue to take the actions that are necessary,” he said.