Abbas targets embargo

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asked the European Union to end the economic sanctions on his Hamas-led government after meeting with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis in Athens on Saturday. «We call on the European Union to lift the embargo imposed on our people, whose continuation will only succeed in encouraging extremism,» said Abbas. The EU was the donor of the greatest aid to the Palestinian government until the Hamas militants swept to power in January 2006. The 25-nation bloc has since suspended direct aid to the government. «We recently formed a government of national unity, its agenda has been announced and we believe that it corresponds to all expectations,» Abbas said. Bakoyannis said Greece would try to convince other EU members to end the sanctions. She also suggested that the effort to create a Palestinian state needs to be revived. «It is important to clarify the prospects to create such a state, possibly with a new timetable,» said the foreign minister. «We feel that such a development would send a clear political message.»

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