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US to assess aid if new Palestinian govt formed

April 30, 2011 9:45 A.M. (Updated: May 1, 2011 12:06 P.M.)
WASHINGTON (AFP) -- The United States is waiting to see if a new Palestinian government is formed after Hamas inks a deal with its rival Fatah before deciding on any changes to its aid policy, officials said Friday.

"The current Palestinian government remains in place and so our assistance programs continue," State Department Policy Planning Director Jacob Sullivan told reporters.

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal will meet next week in Cairo with Palestinian Authority president and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas to sign a unity deal, a Fatah official said Friday.

It will be the first time the two men have met since the Islamist movement Hamas -- designed a terrorist organization by the US -- seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, ousting Fatah from the coastal territory after a week of bloody street battles.

"If a new Palestinian government is formed, we're going to have to assess it based on its policies at the time and determine, then, the implications for our assistance given US law," Sullivan said.

Sullivan stressed any new Palestinian government would have accept the principles set down by the diplomatic Quartet of the US, UN, EU and Russia, in a so-called roadmap to peace.

Those three principles are: renouncing violence, accepting past agreements, and recognizing Israel's right to exist, he said.

The deal, announced in Cairo on Wednesday, saw the secular Fatah party which dominates the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority and Gaza's Islamist rulers agree to form a transitional government ahead of polls within a year.

"We support Palestinian reconciliation on terms that promote the cause of peace," Sullivan stressed.

"In terms of this particular deal, the specifics of it, and how it will be implemented that's something that we're continuing to study."

Kay Granger, the Republican chair of the House of Representatives subcommittee that controls US foreign aid, has warned the United States will "reexamine" its aid to the Palestinians in the event of a deal.

"If a power-sharing agreement with a terrorist organization becomes a reality in the Palestinian territories, the US will be forced to reexamine our aid to the Palestinian Authority," Granger said.
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