EU: No change in Palestinian aid

Feb. 7, 2012 at 4:51 PM
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BRUSSELS, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- The European Union says the Palestinian Authority's new Fatah-Hamas unity government will not change the EU's ongoing financial assistance to Palestinians.

Hamas is officially considered a terrorist group by the European Union but it gained some recognition for freeing Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in a recent prisoner swap with Israel, the EUobserver reported.

"The EU looks forward to continuing its support, including through direct financial assistance, for a new Palestinian government that should uphold the principle of non-violence," EU foreign relations spokesman Michael Mann said Monday in a statement.

An EU diplomat said it's too early to tell what the new Palestinian government will look like.

"We need to know who will be the ministers and what they will say. We expect a technocratic government that will prepare for elections," the official told the EUobserver.

The European Union gives the Palestinians nearly $600 million in financial assistance each year to help refugees and support state-building measures.

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