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UN leader waits for details of Palestinian unity deal

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has noted "with interest" a new unity deal between the Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah.

United Nations: UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon has noted "with interest" a new unity deal between the Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah but is waiting for details of the accord, his spokesman said.

Ban discussed the deal on Saturday with Israeli
Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who
expressed concern about the involvement of Hamas in any
Palestinian national unity government.

"With respect to Palestinian unity, the secretary
general noted with interest the understanding reached between
Fatah and Hamas as announced in Cairo," said UN spokesman
Martin Nesirky yesterday.

Ban "indicated that the United Nations would study the
agreement carefully once the details were available" and took
note of Israel`s concerns, the spokesman added.

Israel on Sunday suspended the transfer of Palestinian
tax and customs fees to the Palestinian Authority after the
Egyptian-brokered reconciliation deal.

Barak said world leaders and the United Nations should
"attach conditions to any cooperation with a Palestinian unity
government" so that it is in line with Quartet demands for
brokering a peace deal.

The diplomatic Quartet -- the United Nations, United
States, Russia and European Union -- has demanded an end to
violence and recognition of Israel as a state. Hamas refuses
to recognize Israel and a rocket attack on Israel last month
killed one teenager.

Ban "underscored the need for progress towards
Palestinian unity within the framework of the Palestinian
Authority led by president Mahmud Abbas and the commitments of
the Palestine Liberation Organization," said the spokesman.

"He welcomed efforts towards that end, including the
important contribution of Egypt." Ban said there must be
"reconciliation" that promotes "peace, security and

In his talks with Barak, Ban expressed "concern" at
the impasse in negotiations between Israel and the
Palestinians, frozen since September when Israel refused to
renew a settlement moratorium.

"Continued drift was not desirable for both parties,"
the UN leader commented.


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