Hamas criticises move to appoint prime minister

13 March 2003
The challenge facing a new Palestinian prime minister tasked with clamping down on militant attacks was made clear on 12 March, when Hamas criticised the creation of the post. A statement from the militant group claimed that the agreement by the PLO and the Palestinian Legislative Council to appoint a premier was a response to 'US-Zionist pressures' and part of a plot to end Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation. Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat has nominated Mahmoud Abbas, better known as Abu Mazen, as his prime minister. The creation of this alternative authority to Arafat has been a key condition set by the US and Israel for moving forward with the peace process. However, it is as yet unclear whether they will be satisfied since the division of powers agreed by the two men leaves Arafat in charge of security and negotiations with Israel, while Abbas will take charge of internal affairs.

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