Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday he expects that attempts to form a unity government with Hamas are set to go on for no more than two to three weeks, and indicated he would move to call early elections if those fail.
When asked how long he would pursue unity talks with Hamas, Abbas replied: "I would say we're at a juncture ... I think it will take two weeks, maximum three weeks."
According to the AP, he said that if no unity government were formed after that time, he would expect to move toward calling early elections. Abbas' close aide, Saeb Erekat, stressed that the Palestinian president was not trying to set a deadline or add pressure to the negotiations with Hamas.
Abbas added that he was hopeful that a trilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice likely for next month would help push the process forward. "I think the Americans are really serious this time," he said.