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Libya says it supports Palestinian Hamas - Jana

Written by: Staff

TRIPOLI, Mar 24 (Reuters) Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi pledged support for Palestinian militant group Hamas, which faces cuts in Western funding over its refusal to denounce violence against Israel, state news agency Jana said today.

The report came after Gaddafi met Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Meshaal in Tripoli yesterday. Meshaal said this week his group will continue to fight Israel and told the United States its Middle East policy would fuel terrorism.

Meshaal's visit to Libya is part of a tour of Arab states to drum up financial aid and political support for Hamas to head the Palestinian government.

''The brother leader (Gaddafi) told Meshaal that Libya will continue its support for the Palestinian people and its just cause,'' Jana said.

Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdel-Rahman Shalgam also voiced his backing for Hamas.

''We informed them of our support and discussed with them all the existing initiatives (towards a solution to the conflict),'' Jana quoted him as saying during talks with Meshaal.

The agency gave no more details about Meshaal's stay and did not say whether he had left Tripoli.

Gaddafi says he does not recognise either the Palestinian Authority or the Israeli state. He wants a single state for the two peoples, arguing the land would be too small for two states.

Libya is one of the leading Arab financial backers of the Palestinians.

Reuters AD BD2008

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