RAMALLAH, West Bank, (Reuters) – An American envoy told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a meeting on Saturday that the United States will lift a ban on aid to the emergency government he is forming, a senior Palestinian official said.
Abbas ordered the Hamas-led government disbanded on Thursday after the Islamist group’s bloody takeover of the Gaza Strip. Hamas said Abbas’s order amounted to a coup and that Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas leader, remained in power. “Abbas was informed the American administration will immediately lift the sanctions once the emergency government is announced,” the senior Palestinian official said as Abbas met in the West Bank city of Ramallah with U.S. Consul-General Jacob Walles.
Senior Israeli and Western officials said Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and U.S. President George W. Bush would discuss at a meeting next week a series of “gestures” they planned to take, including the release to Abbas of a portion of the Palestinian Authority’s tax revenues being withheld by Israel.