The United Nations has advised its aid agencies to avoid political contacts with the Hamas-led Palestinian government.

But U.N. officials say the new policy allows aid to continue flowing to the Palestinians.

The United States and European Union consider Hamas a terrorist organization and have frozen aid until Hamas renounces violence and recognizes Israel's right to exist.

Russia says that's a mistake. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says stopping aid to the Hamas-led government will further destabilize the region. He says the only way to ensure that Hamas meets Western demands is to engage its leadership.

Earlier Tuesday, six Palestinian legislators went to Iran on a mission to win financial support for the Palestinians. The Hamas-led government says it is broke.

In the West Bank Tuesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said conditions in the Palestinian territories are deteriorating rapidly as the Western sanctions take hold.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.