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Palestinian PM: Militants willing to discuss new cease-fire

Palestinian teen killed in Nablus

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei speaks this month outside his office in Ramallah, West Bank.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei speaks this month outside his office in Ramallah, West Bank.

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RAMALLAH, West Bank (CNN) -- Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei said Wednesday that Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups have told him they are willing to discuss a new cease-fire with Israel.

"Everyone wants a serious dialogue," Qorei told reporters, indicating he plans to travel soon to Gaza for talks with Hamas.

"We're getting positive statements from everybody" about holding new talks on a cease-fire, said Qorei, adding, "They want to reach a common denominator."

Qorei, who is in office under an emergency degree, said if Palestinian factions can come to an agreement, it will then be necessary to have talks with Israel on a reciprocal agreement.

A previous cease-fire -- declared unilaterally by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades -- the militant offshoot of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement -- ended August 21. The groups, all three of which have been declared terrorist groups by the U.S. State Department, declared the seven-week-old cease-fire over after a senior Hamas leader was killed in an Israeli missile attack. The Israeli attack followed a terrorist bus bombing in Jerusalem that killed 20 people. Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the bus bombing.

But while Qorei was upbeat about the possibility of cease-fire talks, he was less clear about his own plans.

Asked if he will put together a Cabinet and remain prime minister after his emergency term ends November 4, Qorei said his plans were "not final yet."

On Tuesday, Arafat and the Fatah Central Committee asked Qorei to stay on as prime minister and to form a permanent Cabinet to take power when the emergency term ends.

Qorei was named prime minister and an emergency eight-member Cabinet was appointed by Arafat on October 5.

On October 10, the Palestinian Legislative Council, which must cast a vote of confidence in Qorei and a new Cabinet, called off a vote in support of the emergency Cabinet after Qorei and Arafat became locked in a dispute over who will control Palestinian security forces.

Qorei indicated Tuesday that the issue of who will control those forces remains undecided.

In an effort to broker peace in the region, the United States has pressed Arafat and the Palestinian Authority to transfer full control over Palestinian security forces to a Palestinian prime minister.

Arafat has resisted so far, continuing to retain control over parts of the Palestinian security apparatus, including its uniformed police.

Israel and the United States have called on the Palestinian Authority to use its security apparatus to stop terrorist attacks on Israelis.

On Tuesday, President Bush said it would be hard to move the Middle East peace process forward and create a Palestinian state "until there's a focused effort by all parties to assume their responsibilities."

Establishing an independent Palestinian state by 2005 is one of the goals of the so-called "road map" for Mideast peace, which is backed by the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia.

Bush said he had not seen a commitment to fight terror from what he called "the old guard" now running the Palestinian Authority.

Qorei replaced the Palestinian Authority's first prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, who resigned in September.

Abbas, who said he would not serve as a figurehead, was at odds with Arafat during the four months he was in office over the ability to control portions of the Palestinian security force that Arafat kept under his command.

But in his resignation, Abbas blamed "Israel's unwillingness to implement its 'road map' commitments and to undertake any constructive measures" in an effort to reach a peace.

Abbas also said the United States and international community "did not exert sufficient influence on Israel to implement its commitments in the road map to push the peace process forward or to end its military escalation."

Palestinian teen shot in Nablus

Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian teenager during a military operation Wednesday, Palestinian medical sources said. Israeli military sources said they shot a person throwing Molotov cocktails at troops.

Palestinian sources said the 13-year-old boy was killed on the main road connected to the Balata refugee camp in Nablus. They said the shooting occurred during an Israeli military operation.

Israeli military sources said soldiers encountered a riot during a routine patrol and stones and Molotov cocktails were thrown at them. They said soldiers shot toward a person throwing the Molotov cocktails and identified a hit.

CNN producer Sausan Ghosheh contributed to this report.

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