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Palestinian Leaders Criticize EU, U.S. Decision To Stop Aid

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (file photo) (RFE/RL) April 8, 2006 -- The Palestinian leadership has criticized as unjust the decision by the United States and the European Union to suspend direct aid payments to the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas said yesterday that the Palestinian people should not be punished for exercising their democratic rights to elect the Hamas militant group to power in January's elections.

The decision by the U.S. and EU to halt direct aid pushes the Palestinian government closer to financial collapse.

The United States and EU say they will continue to provide humanitarian aid to Palestinians, but say they will not provide assistance to the new Hamas-led government untill Hamas recognizes the state of Israel, renounces violence and accepts previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

(compiled from agency reports)