Palestinian PM Fayyad Resigns Officially

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad resigned officially on Saturday.

President Mahmoud Abbas accepted his resignation at a brief meeting in Ramallah, dismissing pressure from U.S. and European leaders to keep him in the government. 

Fayyad reportedly postponed submitting his resignation until after President Obama's recent visit.

The U.S.-educated Fayyad, a former member of the International Monetary Fund, has always been popular among Western leaders.

Senior members of the Fatah revolutionary council reportedly wanted Fayyad out of the government. They sorely resented U.S. pressure, calling it counter-productive and an intrusion of P.A. internal affairs, Jerusalem Post Palestinian Affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh reported.

A senior Fatah official expressed satisfaction at Fayyad's resignation, the P.A.'s official Ma'an news agency reported.

"If Hamas acts to end the split and implement reconciliation, then President Mahmoud Abbas will be the prime minister of the new unity government until comprehensive elections are held," Fatah revolutionary council secretary Amin Makboul told Ma'an.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Agence France Presse "Fayyad left the government after riddling our people with debt, and Fatah must assume responsibility because it imposed him from the start."

In June 2007, Abbas appointed Fayyad to replace deposed Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, who served as prime minister during a short-lived unity government.

Abbas dissolved the unity government following the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, forming an emergency government that's been in place ever since though Abbas' tenure as president expired on January 9, 2009.

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