“The timing was troubling, and we were certainly disappointed in the announcement.”
WASHINGTON D.C. – The U.S. is disappointed by a recent reconciliation agreement between rival Palestinian parties Fatah and Hamas, the State Department said on Wednesday.
The adversaries have agreed to form a unity government and hold statewide elections in the West Bank and Gaza potentially ending a seven-year schism. The national unity government, which will fall under the auspices of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), will be formed in five weeks, with elections scheduled for six months later.
The State Department designated Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997. The group has not been a member of U.S.-brokered peace talks.
“The timing was troubling, and we were certainly disappointed in the announcement,” said Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman while speaking to reporters Wednesday.
The announcement comes as the U.S. deadline for a framework on final status issues on a peace accord between the Israelis and the Palestinians rapidly approaches at the end of the month. It is unclear what will happen if the parties do not agree to a framework, or fail to agree to continue talks beyond the deadline.
“This could seriously complicate our efforts… not just our efforts, but the efforts between the parties more importantly to extend the negotiations,” said Psaki.
The Israeli government has already reacted to the deal between Hamas and Fatah by canceling a planned session between the Israeli and Palestinian peace delegations that was scheduled for Wednesday.
Pressed on whether a united Palestinian body would be better suited to negotiate on behalf of all Palestinians, Psaki said that was an “awfully optimistic view.”
She further stated that Washington has conveyed its concerns over the unity accord both to Israel and the Palestinians.
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