S. Africa calls for lift of Palestinian sanctions

Sanctions against Palestinians should be lifted to help their politicians form a coalition government, South Africa's government said. Defense Minister Mosiuoa Lekota said the government welcomed the power-sharing deal reached last week in Mecca clearing the way for a coalition between Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's Hamas group and President Mahmoud Abbas's moderate Fatah Party. It would "be very wise if the sanctions of the EU, the US were lifted to encourage the strengthening of this coalition," Lekota said Wednesday during a parliamentary briefing. "We think this would create a better atmosphere for the solution of the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict," he said.