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Pakistan pledges 3 million dollars for Hamas government

Written by: Staff
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ISLAMABAD, May 7 (Reuters) Pakistan today said it is to give 3 million dollars in aid to the cash-strapped Palestinian government led by the radical Hamas group.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri made the pledge to his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Al Zahar, who is currently on a visit to Pakistan -- the first by a Palestinian official since Hamas took power in March.

''Foreign Minister Kasuri announced a donation of 3 million dollars by the government of Pakistan for the alleviation of the plight of the Palestinian people,'' a Foreign Ministry statement said.

The United States and other Western powers have cut aid to the Palestinian government over Hamas's refusal to recognise Israel, renounce violence and accept interim peace deals.

Kasuri reiterated Pakistan's support for the Palestinian cause and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Arab territories.

Zahar thanked Pakistan for the assistance. ''It is a historical attitude,'' he told reporters after the meeting.

Pakistan backs a separate homeland for Palestinians with Jerusalem as its capital.

Islamabad has no diplomatic relations with Israel, but Kasuri met his Israeli counterpart last year in the first overt diplomatic contact with the Jewish state.

REUTERS SI BST2139

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