Negotiator says he expects formation of a Palestinian unity government this week

A negotiator says he expects a Palestinian unity government backed by rivals Hamas and Fatah to be announced this week.

Azzam al-Ahmed of President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement says the new cabinet will be declared Thursday. Ehab Ghussein of Hamas said Monday an announcement is likely in the coming days. The government is to prepare for 2015 elections.

The West views the Islamic militant Hamas as a terror group and it's not clear if it would deal with a unity government, even if Abbas sets a pragmatic tone.

Hamas seized Gaza in 2007, leaving Abbas' forces confined to the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Previous reconciliation attempts failed, but the rivals today are more flexible due to crisis — Hamas over money and Abbas over the collapse of peace talks with Israel.