By Nidal al-Mughrabi
GAZA, February 14 (Reuters) - Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and his Hamas-led cabinet will resign in the next two days to make way for a unity government with the rival Fatah faction, a government official said on Tuesday.
Haniyeh is expected to lead the new government, according to the terms of a deal agreed between Hamas and Fatah in
Picture - Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh speaks during a televised address in
"The prime minister will submit his cabinet's resignation within two days so that he can begin constitutional measures to form the unity government," the official, who declined to be named, told Reuters.
In Jordan, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Russian President Vladimir Putin the step would take place in the next two or three days "if there are no unpleasant surprises".
Putin, speaking on the last leg of a Middle East tour, was heard telling Abbas at
Haniyeh earlier said it was too soon to say when he will resign. Officials said he and Fatah's Abbas still had to finalise issues from the Saudi-brokered deal including naming an interior minister and deputy prime minister.
Haniyeh met leaders of 13 Palestinian factions on Tuesday, seeking to win support for the power-sharing deal with Abbas.
"Constitutional measures will begin to implement the agreement on the ground," said Palestinian cabinet spokesman Ghazi Hamad after the meeting.
"There are consultations between President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. We are working speedily and we do not want to waste any time," he said.
The two men could meet in the next two days, he added.
Abbas and Hamas have also still to settle their differences over the fate of Hamas's 5,600-member "executive" police force. Fatah is pushing for the force to be broken up, whereas the Islamist group wants to keep the force together.
Fighting between Hamas and Fatah killed more than 90 Palestinians between late December and early February.
Hamas has rejected conditions set by the "Quartet" of Middle East mediators for restoring direct aid to the Palestinian Authority - recognition of
The Quartet is comprised of the
Israeli officials said the Jewish state was considering suspending contacts with Abbas if the unity government did not meet all three Quartet demands.
The move could increase pressure on Abbas and hinder