The new Hamas prime minister said Thursday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is free to negotiate with Israel on his own and that his government will take control of the Palestinian security forces.

Abbas, "as the head of the Palestinian Authority and the PLO, can move on political fronts and negotiate with whomever he wants. What is important is what will be offered to the Palestinian people," Ismail Haniyeh told The Associated Press in an interview.

Haniyeh also rejected attempts by the international community to wrest authority from his government by giving more responsibility to Abbas.