THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday he will keep talking with Hamas about a unity government, despite concerns an alliance with the Islamic militant group could antagonize the West.
Abbas told reporters in The Hague, "We started our talks with Hamas and we continue our talks with Hamas."
However he tried to ease concerns about an administration potentially including Hamas by saying any government he forges will be made up of "technocrat and independent people and it hasn't any relations with any Palestinian party."
Abbas reconciled with Hamas in May, but talks on a power-sharing government are already behind schedule. The main hurdle is naming a prime minister.
Abbas spoke after meeting Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal in The Hague to seek support for U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.
But the Dutch minister bluntly rejected the Palestinian initiative. "No, it will not be supported by the Netherlands," Rosenthal told reporters.
Instead, Rosenthal called for a resumption of "direct negotiations, right now" between Israel and the Palestinians.
The Netherlands is a strong supporter of Israel, but also sends millions in development aid each year to the Palestinian Authority.
The Palestinians say they will seek statehood at the U.N. General Assembly in September, although membership of a new state must be endorsed by the Security Council, where it could be vetoed by the United States and others.
Abbas said he hoped the Netherlands could play a role within the European Union in supporting the peace process.
On Wednesday, Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency for the next six months, said the 27-nation bloc is working on a common position to take if the U.N. is asked to recognize a Palestinian state.
Any common European stance would depend on a possible resolution's final wording, Sikorski said.
France has said it will support Palestinian statehood if negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians do not restart by September. But countries like Germany or Italy are likely to oppose any such resolution.