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Hamas may cost Palestinians aid: Bush

US President George W Bush has warned of cuts in US aid to the Palestinians if Hamas does not dissolve its armed wing.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2006 10:15 IST

US President George W Bush has warned of cuts in US aid to the Palestinians if the Islamic militant group Hamas does not dissolve its armed wing and renounce threats against Israel.

"If they don't, we won't deal with them. Aid packages won't go forward," Bush told CBS television in an interview on Friday as Hamas prepared to form a government after winning a stunning majority in Palestinian elections.

"That's their decision to make, but we won't be providing help to a government that wants to destroy our ally and friend. I don't see how you can be a partner in peace if you don't renounce violent aims," said Bush.

"They've got to get rid of that arm of their party which is armed and violent, and secondly, they've got to get rid of that part of their platform that says they want to destroy Israel," said the US President.

US officials had warned that Washington would carry out a top-to-bottom review of its aid to the Palestinians if, as expected, their new government includes Hamas.

"If there is a Hamas government, which now appears likely, we're going to have to review all aspects of our aid programme, based on our policy and our law," US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.

"We do not and will not give money to a terrorist organisation," he said as Washington grappled with the shock victory by Hamas in Palestinian elections and its impact on US efforts to revive the ailing Middle East peace process.

This year, the United States budgeted no direct aid for the Palestinian Authority, but plans to provide $150 million to the Palestinians through the US Agency for International Development and another $84 million through the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees in the Near-East, he said.

First Published: Jan 28, 2006 10:15 IST