Abbas hails Haniyeh's efforts to heal Palestinian rift

RAMALLAH – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday hailed efforts by former Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to heal the seven-year-old rift between leading Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas.

In a phone call with Haniyeh, Abbas praised the latter's role in the formation of the new Palestinian unity government, the official Wafa news agency reported.

The new unity government, sworn in by Abbas in Ramallah on Monday, comes in line with a reconciliation deal signed in April between Abbas' Fatah movement and Gaza-based faction Hamas.

Haniyeh, for his part, pledged 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've faced," added the former premier.

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