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Hamas can meet bureaucrats at May visit-Norway PM

Written by: Staff
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OSLO, Apr 18 (Reuters) A delegation from the militant group elected to govern the Palestinian Authority can meet bureaucrats when it visits Norway but not government members, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg today said.

Norway, alongside the United States and the European Union, has cut off direct aid to the Palestinian government since the militant group Hamas won parliamentary elections in January.

Israel, the United States and the European Union consider Hamas -- which is sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state -- to be a terrorist organisation.

''We want to express our demand to the Hamas authorities, among other things to distance themselves from violence and to recognise international accords,'' Stoltenberg told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK.

''We've decided not to meet them at political level but they will meet at bureaucratic level in the foreign ministry.'' Hamas has refused to renounce its stated aim of destroying Israel and yesterday called a car bomb by militant group Islamic Jihad in Tel Aviv ''self defence''. The bomb killed nine people.

The two person Hamas delegation will meet members of the lobby group Palestine Committee of Norway on May 15 as part of a European tour.

REUTERS OM HT1814

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