Palestinian president accepts Cabinet’s resignation

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday accepted the resignation of his prime minister and Cabinet, taking a new step toward ending a failed attempt at reconciling with the rival Hamas movement.

Earlier Tuesday, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah had offered his government’s resignation to Abbas.

Abbas’ spokesman, Nabil Abu Rdeneh, said the president had accepted the resignation but asked Hamdallah to stay on in a caretaker capacity. Abbas also began consultations to form a new government.

Hamdallah’s government was formed in 2013 as part of a power-sharing agreement with Hamas. But the government has never assumed its responsibilities in the Gaza Strip, which Hamas has ruled since a violent 2007 takeover.

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Abbas’ Fatah movement had decided earlier this week to replace Hamdallah’s Cabinet of technocrats with a new Fatah-led government.

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