World Bulletin/News Desk
The United States would have to reconsider its assistance to the Palestinians if Hamas and the Palestinian Liberation Organization form a government together, a senior U.S. administration official said on Thursday.
"Any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognition of the state of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations between the parties," the official said, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity.
"If a new Palestinian government is formed, we will assess it based on its adherence to the stipulations above, its policies and actions, and will determine any implications for our assistance based on U.S. law," the official said.
The move, coming after a long line of failed efforts to reconcile after seven years of internal bickering, envisions a unity government within five weeks and national elections six months later.
Both the United States and Israel greeted the announcement of the unity pact with dismay. Israel canceled a session of talks with the Palestinians that had been scheduled for Wednesday and the State Department said the move could derail peace efforts.
"We are following reports of Palestinian reconciliation efforts," the U.S. official who spoke on Thursday said.
"We have been clear about the principles that must guide a Palestinian government in order for it to play a constructive role in achieving peace and building an independent Palestinian state."
Asked whether the reconciliation moves would incur promised U.S. sanctions, PLO Deputy Secretary Yasser Abed Rabo told Palestinian radio it was too soon to penalise a government that had yet to be formed.
"There's no need for the Americans to get ahead of themselves over this. What happened in Gaza in the last two days is just a first step which we welcome and want to reinforce," he said.
"But this step shouldn't be exaggerated, that an agreement for reconciliation has been completely reached... We need to watch the behaviour of Hamas on many details during the coming days and weeks on forming a government and other things."
Last Mod: 24 Nisan 2014, 14:28