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Palestinian Territories

Abbas accepts Hamdallah’s resignation as Palestinian prime minister

Mahmoud Abbas has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, who quit after two weeks. The Palestinian president appointed the academic earlier this month in an apparent move to consolidate power.

On Sunday, Abbas formally accepted the resignation of his newly installed prime minister, Rami Hamdallah - after he had served just over two weeks on the job. At a meeting with the president on Friday, the prime minister had withdrawn his resignation, tendered Thursday, but by Sunday morning, Abbas had decided he would let Hamdallah go.

"The president accepted the resignation of the prime minister and designated him to head an interim government," said Nabil Abu Rdaineh, a spokesman for Abbas.

Hamdallah held a second round of talks with Abbas on Saturday to resolve the differences that had caused him to resign last week. The prime minister resigned on Thursday after only two weeks in office, complaining of infringement on this authority as prime minister, mainly by his two deputies, former advisors to Abbas.

Contrary to earlier expectations that the meeting would lead to a resolution of the issues that prompted Hamdallah's resignation, nothing conclusive came out of Saturday's meetings - though the saga's conclusion did come on Sunday.

Abbas had previously asked his prime minister to reconsider his decision to step down. The president initially met with Hamdallah on Friday, a day after the prime minister had submitted his resignation because he felt his deputy was overstepping his authority. Abbas had asked Hamdallah to decide by Saturday if he was serious about resigning.

mkg/jr (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)