Bush lets PA keep Washington office open for now

Citing the goal of a lasting Middle East peace, President George W. Bush waived legislative restrictions on Thursday and allowed the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority to keep its Washington office open for at least six months. The United States has designated Hamas a terrorist organization, and Hamas' victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections in January resulted in a no-contact policy with the Palestinian Cabinet and its ministries. Representation of the Palestinian Authority in Washington, however, remains a useful channel of communication to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who remains committed to the peace process and is still chairman of the authority, White House spokesman Ken Lisaius said Thursday.