Saturday, March 11, 2006

Hamas Seeks Saudis Support.

A delegation of Hamas leaders has arrived in Riyadh in a bid to win Saudi financial and political support for the Palestinian government. Hamas is on a fundraising tour across the Middle East.

It is Hamas's first official visit since 1998 and Khaled Meshaal, one of the group’s exiled leaders, leads the five-strong delegation.

Saudi Arabia has been one of the biggest financial backers of the Palestinian Authority. It has rejected US calls to isolate Hamas because of its attacks on Israel.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice attempted, without success, to persuade Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to cut funding for the new Hamas-led Palestinian government.

“Mohammad Nazzal said Hamas appreciates the Saudi position that always supported the Palestinian people,". "We will seek the continuation of political and financial support from our brothers in Saudi Arabia." The delegation was due to meet Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal and King Abdullah on Friday.

Prince Faisal said that his country was attaching no conditions to support for Hamas. "We hope that as a government, they will represent the interests of the Palestinian people and we are waiting for them to show us what kind of leadership they are going to provide to the Palestinian movement.” He said.

The European Union warned again on Friday it would cut funding for a Hamas-led government if it failed to renounce violence and recognise Israel.

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