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Palestinians To Form National-Unity Government

President Abbas will hope to reduce the Palestinians' isolation through the new government (epa) September 12, 2006 -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas says Palestinian leaders will be working in the coming days to form a national-unity government.

Abbas said the effort is aimed at ending the Palestinians' international isolation under the current Hamas-led cabinet.

A deal to form the unity government was announced on September 11.

The president of the Palestinian information service, Ghassan al-Khatib, a former Palestinian cabinet member, hailed the formation of a national-unity government.

"This announcement of a national-unity government is good news for the Palestinians because it will reduce the tension between the main parties and the friction," he said. "It will also allow for a more efficient government of the kind that will have more efficiency and more transparency."

The Palestinians have been facing a deepening financial crisis since Western aid was cut after Hamas came to power following elections in January.

The West has demanded that Hamas renounce violence and recognize Israel in order for aid to resume.

(compiled from agency reports)