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Cautious US Response to Palestinian Power-sharing Deal

  • VOA News

The United States is reacting cautiously to the agreement between the rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah on forming a unity government.

A State Department spokesman Tom Casey said the U.S. will wait to see what policies and positions the new Palestinian government adopts.

Russia welcomed the agreement. The Foreign Ministry in Moscow said Friday the unity government would be an "important factor" in reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. It added that the pact should prompt the lifting of sanctions imposed on the Palestinian Authority.

International donors froze aid last year after Hamas took power and refused to meet international conditions. The Mideast Quartet -- the U.S., Russia, the United Nations, and the European Union -- had called on Hamas to recognize Israel, renounce violence, and respect past agreements with Israel.

An Israeli government spokesman (Mark Regev) said the platform of the new Palestinian government does not go far enough to meet those conditions.

However, the European Union said it is cautiously optimistic about the Palestinian power-sharing deal signed Thursday.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy welcomed the deal as a positive step and urged the international community to back the new government.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal signed the deal Thursday in front of King Abdullah in Mecca.

An Abbas aide said the Palestinian president called on the new government to abide by international law and past agreements reached by the Palestine Liberation Organization, whose largest faction is Fatah.

Fighting between Hamas and Fatah has killed more than 90 Palestinians since December. The factions were locked in a power struggle since parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip brought Hamas to power last year.
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