Gaza: Hamas's prime minister-designate Esmail Haniya said yesterday Hamas had set out its vision for running a Palestinian government to President Mahmoud Abbas.
But it was unclear what response Hamas had made to a formal accreditation letter Abbas gave Haniya last month, asking the group to abide by interim peace deals with Israel.
Abbas has asked Hamas to pursue his peace agenda after the group trounced his long-dominant Fatah movement in parliamentary elections on January 25. Hamas is expected to form a government within weeks.
Speaking to reporters in the Gaza Strip after handing a formal response to Abbas, Haniya gave few concrete details but denied the Palestinian president had wanted Hamas to address his demands to accept the interim peace accords with Israel.
"Certainly the [Abbas] accreditation letter did not include conditions in this regard," Haniya said.
"We in the Palestinian government also have a vision and this we have explained in the response letter. We hope that this will represent the grounds for understanding between us and President Abbas."
Abbas described the meeting with Haniya as positive and said consultations would continue. Abbas said he was comfortable with Haniya going into extra time to form the next government.
"It may be that Esmail needs to use up the full allotment of time, namely five weeks, and I have no objection to that," Abbas told reporters after talks with Haniya in Gaza City.
Under the Palestinian Basic Law, Haniya has three weeks to form a government with a 14-day extension should he require extra time to nail down a line-up and win parliamentary approval for it.