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US: Palestinian aid will stop if Hamas joins government

US lawmakers warned yesterday that US might freeze its annual aid to the Palestinian Authority if the Islamic Resistance movement Hamas joined a national consensus government.

Assistant Secretary for the Near East Anne Patterson said during a congress hearing that the US administration will not provide financial assistance for "a government that includes Hamas".

Patterson pointed out that the US might reconsider its position if "Hamas accepted the Quartet's conditions which include renouncing violence, recognising previous agreements and, most explicitly, recognised Israel's right to exist."

Representative Ted Deutch told the hearing into the Middle East and North Africa 2015 budget allocation that "no Palestinian government that includes terrorist members of Hamas can or will receive US funding".

Subcommittee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said the Palestinian reconciliation agreement had "major implications" for the fiscal year 2015 budget which begins in October.

Last week Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement approving the formation of a national unity government headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas within five weeks.

According to the agreement the national unity government will be responsible for preparing for presidential and legislative elections.

Israel rejected the agreement and decided to stop participating in the stalled peace talks.

The US lists has Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 after bloody clashes with the Fatah movement, as a terrorist organisation since 1993.

Asia & AmericasMiddle EastNewsPalestineUS
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