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UN officials told to avoid contact with Hamas

In a move that would further isolate the Hamas Govt, the UN has advised its officials and aid agencies to avoid political contacts.

india Updated: Apr 12, 2006 11:26 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

In a move that would further isolate the Hamas-led Palestine government, the UN has advised its top officials and aid agencies to avoid political contacts with its top leaders, including President Mahmoud Abbas, without consent of the headquarters.

However, UN officials would maintain contacts at the lower technical level for operation purposes so that they are able to deliver aid to the Palestinians to avoid any humanitarian crisis, world body's officials said.

The change in the policy of unrestricted political contacts comes in the wake of demand of the International Quartet, of which Secretary-General Kofi Annan is a member, that Hamas, who recently took over power in the Palestine, recognise Israel and renounce violence.

Hamas has so far not responded to the demand, which apparently led to the UN putting restrictions on its staff.

It does not recognise Israel and had previously openly said it was seeking Israel's destruction.

The Hamas-led government is now virtually bankrupt unable to pay salaries of its 140,000 staff members with the United States and European having cut direct aid to force it to fall in line with the Quartet demand. Besides, it has a debt of more than one billion dollars.

It is seeking aid from Arab nations so far with little success and has sent a delegation to Iran, which has been its consistent supporter.

First Published: Apr 12, 2006 11:26 IST