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Hamas Government Sworn In

Minister of Finance Mohamed Abd Alrazeq (left), Deputy Palestinian Prime Minister Nasser Asaeer (center), and Minister of Women's Affairs Mream Salaeh (right) at the swearing-in ceremony for the new Hamas government in Ramallah today (epa) March 29 2006 -- Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas swore in a Hamas government today amid concerns the Palestinian administration was on the brink of financial collapse and faced Western isolation.

The 24-member Palestinian cabinet is dominated by Hamas loyalists after other factions refused to join in the wake of the group's shock victory in elections in January.

Soon after the swearing-in ceremony, Canada announced it was suspending aid to the Palestinian Authority. Other Western nations are expected to follow suit.

The "Quartet" of Middle East mediators -- the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations -- has said Hamas must recognize Israel, give up violence, and accept past peace deals, or risk losing aid to the Palestinian Authority.