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Hamas, EU contact over Gaza fuel crisis: Hamas official
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07:53, August 21, 2007

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An aide to deposed prime minister of the Hamas-led coalition government Ismail Haneya announced on Monday that Hamas is having contacts with the European Union to solve the fuel crisis that led to power cuts in half of the Gaza enclave.

Alla el-Dein al-A'araj told reporters in Gaza that there are contacts between the acting government of Haneya and the EU.

"The European officials were briefed by Haneya government on how the quantities of fuel to operate Gaza Power plant are administrated and distributed," said al-A'araj without giving more details.

He accused the caretaker government led by Salam Fayyad in the West Bank of conspiring to cut off fuel supplies to Gaza along with Israel. Fayyad's government politicized the issue of electricity and thus aggravated the suffering of the besieged Gaza populations, he said.

Gaza's power plant was forced to shut down on Sunday after the EU suspended the financing of fuel deliveries for the only plant in the territory, which led to wide blackout in Gaza.

The EU spends 6.5 million euros (9 million U.S. dollars) a month on fuel for the plant, which provides at least a quarter of Gaza's electricity.

Information minister of the Ramallah-based Palestinian caretaker government Reyad al-Malki on Sunday held Hamas responsible for the power cut, saying the EU refused to continue financing Gaza power plant's consumption of fuel because of Hamas takeover of Gaza.

Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic group considered as a terrorist group by the U.S. and EU, violently seized control of Gaza in mid- June after ousted Fatah movement, which remains in power on the West Bank.

Source: Xinhua



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