Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas asked Prime Minister Salam Fayyad Monday to form a new government including Abbas' Fatah party and left-wing organizations.

A new government will be formed within the next 48 hours, Abbas told his secular Fatah party in a meeting.

Fayyad, a US-educated economist announced on April 1 that he would remain in office until the end of unity talks between Hamas and Fatah in Egypt.

He was a former World Bank economist who has won praise from Israeli and Western leaders for his economic reforms, was appointed as Prime Minister after Hamas drove Abbas's secular Fatah party from Gaza.

The two sides have been bitterly divided since the Islamists seized power in the Gaza Strip in June 2007 and have held several rounds of talks in Egypt trying to form a united government.

Damascus-based leader Khaled Meshal called on Abbas on Saturday not to ask Fayyad to form a new government without Hamas on board. Officials from Hamas and Fatah are due to meet in Cairo on May 16 for another round of reconciliation talks.

Palestinian commentators say Abbas will unveil the new government before his departure for meetings with the U.S. administration in Washington later this month.

The left-wing organizations in the new government would include the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

A Hamas senior official said last weekend that he expects Egypt will resume its efforts to broker a ceasefire next week between Israel and Palestinian groups.