Kerry tells Abbas US won't rush to judge new Palestinian government

 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swore in a new unity government with Hamas on Monday after Secretary of State John Kerry called him expressing concerns a day earlier.

The reconciliation government brings together Abbas’s Fatah party, based in the West Bank, and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and is deemed a terrorist group by the United States and Israel. 

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Kerry spoke with Abbas on Sunday about the plan to form a new interim government, and made clear the U.S. would not rush to judge it. 

“The Secretary expressed concern about Hamas's role in any such government and the importance that the new government commit to the principles of nonviolence, recognition of the State of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements with it,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. Abbas said the new government would commit to those principles, she said.

Abbas told Kerry "the coming government will be formed of independents and will represent the political agenda of the president," the official Palestinian news agency WAFA said, according to Reuters.

Kerry told Abbas the U.S. will “monitor the situation closely” and “judge any government based on its composition, policies, and actions.” 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his security Cabinet on Sunday that Kerry has promised Israel the U.S. wouldn’t immediately recognize the new government, Haaretz reports. Netanyahu also urged others in the international community to do the same.

The development comes just over a month after Palestinian officials announced it would form the new government with Hamas after a seven-year rift.

Around the same time, Kerry had also failed to strike a final status negotiation between the Israelis and Palestinians by the April 29 deadline he set last summer.