UK's Brown urges Olmert to end economic freeze

Prime Minister Gordon Brown's office says the British leader has pressed Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to lift constraints on the Palestinian economy. Brown's office said on Tuesday that Brown asked Olmert to act during talks in London. Israel is restricting cash shipments to Gaza banks. The tactic is aimed at weakening Hamas, which took control of the region in 2007. Brown said the stance is damaging the wider Palestinian economy and harming prospects for peace. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund have called for the restrictions to end. Brown on Monday met with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Cash shipments to Gaza are used by Fayyad to pay government employees loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.