Saudi officials warns against PA aid block

May 18, 2006 at 11:07 AM

WASHINGTON, May 18 (UPI) -- Saudi Arabia's foreign minister has warned economic policies that isolate the Hamas-led Palestinian government will radicalize citizens.

Prince Saud al-Faisal said Wednesday before a Washington meeting with the U.S. State Department that the Bush administration policy of withholding aid to the Palestinian Authority will not get Hamas to change its stance on certain issues.

Hamas swamped the ruling Fatah Party in January elections, sparking outrage by the United States, Israel and European countries who then froze aid payments. They consider Hamas a terrorist organization because of its aid to the Palestinian insurgency and refusing to officially recognize the state of Israel.

But Saud said: "You are not harming the government. You are only adding radicalism to the Palestinians."

The Palestinian economy was already in shambles because of Fatah's leadership. Now it is getting worse, with many public workers having gone months without pay, The Washington Post reports. Banks aren't sending out Arab League money so they don't violate U.S. Treasury rules, the newspaper said.

European countries have called for a method of sending aid to the area but going around the Hamas government.

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