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Abbas Appoints Ismail Haniyah As Prime Minister

New Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah was a senior leader of Hamas (file photo) (epa) 21 February 2006 -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas has appointed Ismail Haniyah to be prime minister.

Haniyah will have five weeks to form a government. The Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls parliament, nominated Haniyah for the post.

Hamas is holding coalition talks with other Palestinian militant factions.

Khalid Mish'al, the political leader of Hamas, said today that Hamas will only negotiate with Israel if it withdraws from Palestinian territory and recognizes the group's rights.

Israel has vowed to boycott Hamas, which is sworn to Israel's destruction.

Israeli interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said today that despite Hamas's rise to power, there is still hope for pursuing peace with the Palestinians.

(AP, Reuters, AFP)