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Berita : Cahaya harapan dari negara Arab?

Qatar criticises West over Hamas

The emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, has criticised the West for boycotting the Hamas government, saying Palestinians were wrongly being punished for practising democracy.

Sheik Hamad said during a speech to the European parliament that the Palestinian government should have the opportunity to work for the people who elected it.

In the first speech by the head of a Gulf state to the parliament, he said: "Instead of rewarding the Palestinian people for practicing democracy, something rarely witnessed in our region, they have been punished for it."

Western aid was cut off after Hamas was elected to power in January.

Important role

Western powers demand that the Islamist movement Hamas renounce violence, recognise Israel and agree to stick to peace agreements reached by previous Palestinian governments.

"I do not understand how an embargo can be imposed on a government that has been democratically elected and how collective sanctions can be imposed on the whole of the people," Hamad said at the session in Strasbourg.

Qatar has retained ties with Hamas and helps aids the group with private and public financial contributions and is believed to have ties with its nationalist rival, Fatah.

The small country hosts the US military's Middle East command headquarters, has played an increasingly important role in the region since ending its isolationist foreign policy. Agencies

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