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White House Says US Will Not Resume Palestinian Aid


The change in the Palestinian leadership has apparently led to no change in Bush administration policy. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports from the White House.

The Palestinians put together a new government of two feuding factions - militant Hamas and moderate Fatah - in hopes of getting the United States and its allies to resume financial support.

But the White House says the change is not enough, and the conditions for resumption of aid have not been met.

White House National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley says the Palestinians still have not accepted the guidelines set down by Mideast negotiators from the United States, Russia, the U.N., and the European Union - the so-called "Quartet."

"We have said very clearly that this new government needs to accept the Quartet principles," said Stephen Hadley. "These are the sort of fundamental building blocks for peace in the Middle East."

Speaking on CNN's Late Edition program, Hadley emphasized the Palestinians must renounce violence, and recognize Israel's right to exist. He said the previous Hamas-led government refused to take these steps, leading to the suspension of aid.

"They have not accepted those principles," he said. "We have not dealt with them. We will not deal with this government until it accepts those principles."

The White House national security adviser left no doubt the Bush administration will be watching the Palestinian government closely. And he made clear Washington was not encouraged by comments made Saturday by the new Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyah of Hamas.

"We will be watching, obviously for the words and deeds of this government," noted Stephen Hadley. "It was a little troubling that Prime Minister Haniyah in his statement in the program of the government talks about the right of resistance. This is not the same as [saying] 'we are giving up violence and terror.'"

Israel has already said it will boycott the new Palestinian government, although it will maintain contacts with President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, who was elected separately.

The United States has also said it will continue a dialogue with Mr. Abbas as well as other Palestinian officials with no ties to Hamas, which Washington has long considered to be a terrorist organization.