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US freezes aid to Hamas-led Palestinian government

Written by: Staff

WASHINGTON, Apr 7 (Reuters) The United States has decided to suspend direct assistance to the Hamas-led Palestinian government, while increasing humanitarian aid to the Palestinians through United Nations agencies, the State Department today said.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters the suspension would be lifted if the Palestinian Cabinet recognized Israel's right to exist and renounced violence, as called for by the Quartet group of Middle East mediators.

Quoting a statement by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, he said US humanitarian aid to the Palestinians through UN or other relief agencies would be increased by 57 per cent this year to 245 million dollar.

Reuters OM VP0004

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