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Fatah lawmakers oppose coalition with Hamas

Written by: Staff
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RAMALLAH, West Bank, Mar 5 (Reuters) Lawmakers of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party have decided to reject an invitation to join a governing coalition led by the Islamist militant group Hamas, party officials said.

Hamas, which swept to a surprise victory in January 25 parliamentary elections, has been asked to form a government which it expects to achieve later this month.

Fatah legislators met yesterday to decide on Hamas's invitation to join their government, and drew up a recommendation to the party's council ''to decide not to take part in the government'', officials said.

The officials said Fatah's 134-member revolutionary council would likely approve the recommendation as early as Sunday, possibly complicating Hamas's efforts to fulfill its goal of forming a broad-based cabinet.

Among three reasons cited by Fatah for opposing being part of such a government was Hamas's failure to recognise past peace agreements with Israel. The lawmakers also said that the once dominant party needs time to rebuild after the electoral defeat.

Hamas's charter vows to destroy the Jewish state.

REUTERS DH RAI0437

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