US to reassess aid to Palestinians if unity government deal reached

By REUTERS
April 24, 2014 11:29

Senior official reaffirms that new government formed as result of reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas will need to adhere to terms, recognize Israel.

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PA President Abbas with US President Obama, March 17 2014. (photo credit:REUTERS)

The United States would have to reconsider its assistance to the Palestinians if Islamist group Hamas and the Palestinian Liberation Organization form a government together, a senior US administration official said on Thursday.

"Any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognition of the state of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations between the parties," the official said, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

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"If a new Palestinian government is formed, we will assess it based on its adherence to the stipulations above, its policies and actions, and will determine any implications for our assistance based on US law," the official said.

The United States said on Wednesday it was disappointed by a unity pact agreed between the Hamas and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization and said it could seriously complicate peace efforts.

"The timing was troubling and we were certainly disappointed in the announcement," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a regular news briefing.

"This could seriously complicate our efforts. Not just our efforts but the efforts of the parties to extend their negotiations."

Abbas said on Wednesday that the unity pact did not contradict peace talks he is pursuing with Israel.

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