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Quartet Urged to Hold Direct Talks with Hamas-led Gov't
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Hamas-led Palestinian government is ready to hold unconditional talks with the Middle East Quartet of international mediators, a Palestinian minister said on Monday.

Telecom Minister Jamal al-Khoudari told reporters in Gaza that an open dialogue, without preconditions, with the Quartet was aimed to put an end to the Israeli occupation.

"We repeat this call for dialogue in order to get rid of war and conflict," said al-Khudari, an independent member in the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council.

Al-Khoudari made appeal a day before a meeting of the Quartet is due to be held in New York.

The Quartet comprising the UN, the US, the European Union and Russia is expected to discuss the stalled peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel in the wake of Hamas-led government's swearing in on March 29.

The Quartet will also seek resumption of financial aid to the cash-strapped Palestinian National Authority (PNA). 

The new Hamas-led government has been unable to pay wages to the 160,000 government employees since the EU and the US cut off financial aid after Hamas failed to meet their demand to renounce violence, recognize Israel's right to exist and respect previous Palestinian-Israeli agreements.

(Xinhua News Agency May 9, 2006)

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