Palestinian Authority leader Mahmud Abbas vowed on Wednesday to "speed up" work with Hamas to form a new caretaker government and to prepare for new elections. In an address to the Palestinian leadership marking seven years since the death of veteran leader Yasser Arafat and the 23rd anniversary of their declaration of independence, Abbas promised to push ahead with efforts to form a unity deal between Fatah and Hamas.
"In order to expedite the implementation of the reconciliation, we will continue to make every effort to speed up the resolution of the remaining issues -- first among them the presidential and legislative elections, as well as those for the Palestinian National Council, and the formation of a government of independents to oversee the elections," he said.
"Achieving reconciliation is the desire of all our people... and I promise you all that we will do what we can to accomplish the reconciliation," Abbas said. "This issue and related political matters will be on the agenda of my meeting with Khaled Meshaal... including the question of where are we going," Abbas stated.
In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Taher al-Nunu welcomed Abbas's speech, AFP reported. "We welcome the positive spirit of this speech towards the reconciliation, the Hamas movement and national issues," he said.