Fayyad to resign after month-long dispute with Abbas
RAMALLAH (Palestinian Territories) - Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has prepared a letter of resignation which he will submit to president Mahmud Abbas on Thursday, a senior Palestinian official said.
Abbas and Fayyad are known to have been at loggerheads over a raft of issues, including the resignation of the Palestinian Authority's finance minister, which Abbas refused to accept but which was agreed by Fayyad, a US-educated economist.
"Fayyad has prepared a letter of resignation which he will present today to Abbas," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The prime minister had prepared his resignation letter on March 23, the official said, but had delayed handing it to Abbas until after a visit by US President Barack Obama and foreign tours by the Palestinian president since then.
Abbas is due back later Thursday from Qatar, where he has been attending Arab League meetings.
The official stressed, however, that it was not certain that Fayyad's resignation would be accepted.
Underlying tension between Fayyad and Abbas surfaced when Nabil Qassis, a former president of Bir Zeit university near Ramallah who joined the government in May 2012, announced on March 2 he was resigning, without giving a reason. Abbas was abroad at the time.
Abbas rejected the resignation but Fayyad agreed to it. It is unclear whether Qassis officially retains the post at present.
Last week, the Revolutionary Council, the main governing body of Abbas's Fatah party, openly criticised Fayyad's government for the first time over its economic policy.
"The policies of the current Palestinian government are improvised and confused in many issues of finance and the economy," it said in a statement on Friday.
The criticism came as several high-ranking officials suggested Abbas might be about to dismiss Fayyad.