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Russia To Continue Direct Aid To Palestinian Government

Sergei Lavrov (file photo) (epa) April 11, 2006 -- Russia today pledged to continue sending financial help to the Palestinian government led by the Islamic militant group Hamas.

Addressing reporters in Moscow after talks with his Jordanian counterpart Adbedelah al-Khatib, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized a European Union decision to freeze all direct aid to the Palestinian leadership, calling it a "mistake."

Hamas, which won January's legislative elections, is on the EU's list of terrorist organizations.

Brussels says it will resume all direct aid shipments to the Palestinian government only when Hamas renounces violence and recognizes Israel.

But Lavrov said the best way to achieve this objective is "to work with Hamas, not boycott it."

Russia, which is a member of the Middle East Quartet, does not consider Hamas to be a terrorist group.

(Interfax, ITAR-TASS)

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