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U.S. On New Palestinian Government

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has appointed Salam Fayyad to replace Ismail Haniyeh as the Palestinian government's prime minister. Mr. Haniyeh is a member of the Hamas terrorist group. Mr. Abbas dismissed him as prime minister and established an emergency cabinet after Hamas violently seized control in Gaza, usurping the lawful authority of the Palestinian Authority government.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she conveyed the United States' strong support for Mr. Fayyad in a phone call to the new Palestinian prime minister:

"I congratulated him on his new post and I told him the United States would resume full assistance to the Palestinian government, and normal government to government contacts."

Secretary of State Rice said the United States will also lift its financial restrictions on the Palestinian government:

"We intend to lift our financial restrictions on the Palestinian government, which has accepted previous agreements with Israel and rejects the path of violence. This will enable the American people and American financial institutions to resume normal economic and commercial ties with the Palestinian government."

Dr. Rice said the Bush administration will resume assistance to the Palestinian Authority government and will work with the U.S. Congress to restructure planned assistance to ensure it is used as effectively as possible. The United States, she said, will also contribute an additional forty million dollars through the United Nations to help Palestinians, particularly those living in the Gaza Strip.

Secretary of State Rice said that Hamas's armed attack on the Palestinian government was an attempt to divide the Palestinian nation. "We reject that," she said. "It is the position of the United States that there is one Palestinian people and there should be one Palestinian state." President George W. Bush has expressed full support for Palestinian President Abbas and his new government.