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Pakistan Announces Aid Package for Hamas


Pakistan has pledged $3 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority and offered other support to the hard-line Hamas-led government. The Palestinian Foreign Minister is in Pakistan for two-day talks on bilateral relations.

The promised aid comes as the Hamas government struggles to fill budget gaps stemming from tough international sanctions over its refusal to denounce violence toward Israel and recognize the Jewish state's existence.

After talks with Pakistani leaders Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar told reporters Pakistan offered more political and financial support for the newly elected Palestinian administration.

"We discussed everything concerning the Palestinian issue," he said. "They [Pakistan] are now ready to give the Palestinian people $3 million and also they are going to build the Palestinian embassy in Islamabad. "

Pakistan has strongly backed Palestinian statehood and has repeatedly urged the international community to recognize the democratically elected Hamas-led government.

Islamabad has no diplomatic ties with Israel and in the past has taken an even harder line against it than some Arab countries.

Pakistan maintains it will not recognize Israel until an independent Palestinian state is established.

However Islamabad also initiated diplomatic exchanges with Israeli officials last year to provide, what it called, "an impetus to the Middle East peace process."

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has come under fire from the country's hard-line Islamic parties for his efforts to directly engage Israel.

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