Palestinian PM Fayyad resigns

2013-04-14 08:42
Palestine (Picture: AFP)

Palestine (Picture: AFP)

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Ramallah - Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad resigned on Saturday after a weeks-long falling out with president Mahmud Abbas, despite US efforts for him to stay on.

"Fayyad met Abbas for half an hour in the president's headquarters in Ramallah in the West Bank and officially handed him his written resignation," a Palestinian official told AFP.

Abbas tasked Fayyad with the role of caretaker for the current government until a new prime minister is appointed, another official said.

The two men have been at loggerheads amid mounting criticism of Fayyad's economic policies by Abbas's ruling Fatah movement, but Washington had lobbied hard for the 61-year-old, US-educated economist to stay on.

Late on Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry telephoned Abbas to press him to find common ground with his prime minister, Palestinian officials said.

Following his resignation Washington hailed Fayyad as a "strong partner".

"We recognise the important roles played by both president Abbas and prime minister Fayyad, and appreciate both of their efforts as we and others work to support establishment of a viable, independent Palestinian state," said National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden.

"Prime Minister Fayyad has been a strong partner to the international community and a leader in promoting economic growth, state-building and security for the Palestinian people. We look to all Palestinian leaders to support these efforts."

In Canada, Foreign Minister John Baird said he was "saddened and deeply disappointed" about Fayyad's decision to leave his post.

Hailing Fayyad as a "trusted and dedicated interlocutor and friend of Canada", Baird expressed hope that he will "continue to advance the cause of peace and continue to work to improve the lives of the Palestinian people".

Rumours that Fayyad would either resign or be told to step down by Abbas have been rife in recent weeks after longstanding differences between the two leaders came to a head over the finance portfolio.

Finance minister Nabil Qassis announced on 2 March that he was standing down. Fayyad agreed to the resignation but Abbas, who was abroad at the time, rejected it.

Read more on:    mahmud abbas  |  john kerry  |  israel  |  middle east peace

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