Haniyeh vows to cooperate with new Palestinian cabinet

CAIRO – Outgoing Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has welcomed the announcement of a new Palestinian government of technocrats, pledging on Monday to cooperate with the new government.

"Today we turn over the reins of government with the Palestinian resistance in good shape," Haniyeh said in a televised address from the Gaza Strip.

"We have managed to protect the resistance against [Israeli] occupation, along with Palestinian state institutions, despite the many hardships we have faced," he added.

A short time earlier, a new cabinet was sworn in by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. The move came in line with a recent reconciliation deal between Abbas' Fatah movement and rival Palestinian faction Hamas.

Israel, meanwhile, prevented five new government ministers from the Gaza Strip from travelling to the West Bank to attend the swearing-in ceremony.

The new ministers are expected to be sworn in later, Palestinian sources said.

The new Palestinian cabinet features 18 ministers, including the prime minister, the latter's two deputies and a cabinet secretary-general.

In his address, Haniyeh said his government had striven for the success of the reconciliation talks with Fatah and the subsequent formation of the new unity government.

He added that the Hamas-led Gaza government had initially had reservations about the reappointment of Riyad al-Maliki as foreign minister in the new cabinet.

His government, he said, had also agreed with Abbas to temporarily suspend the latter's proposal to turn the Prisoners' Affairs Ministry into an agency affiliated with the new prime minister.

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