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Moderate PM quits post in West Bank

| Saturday, April 13, 2013, 7:33 p.m.

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad resigned on Saturday, leaving the Palestinians without one of their most moderate and well-respected voices just as the United States is starting a new push for Mideast peace.

President Mahmoud Abbas met with Fayyad late in the day and accepted his resignation and asked Fayyad to continue to serve in his post until Abbas forms a new government.

Abbas was expected to name a new prime minister within days, according to Palestinian officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Abbas and Fayyad had been locked in an increasingly bitter dispute over the extent of the prime minister's authority.

His departure could spell trouble for Abbas. Fayyad, a Western-trained economist, is well respected in international circles, and he is expected to play a key role in U.S. efforts to revive peace talks.

As part of that effort, Secretary of State John Kerry has said he plans to announce a series of measures to boost the West Bank economy in the coming days. Fayyad, a former official at the International Monetary Fund with expertise in development, would be key to overseeing such projects.

A squeaky-clean public image and willingness to take on entrenched interests has often landed him in trouble with Abbas' long-ruling Fatah movement.

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