Report: EU to Lift Sanctions on Hamas if Palestinian Unity Gov't Formed

Sources in Sarkozy's entourage say European Union would be willing to recognize a Palestinian unity government.

If a Palestinian unity government is established, Europe would be willing to recognize the Palestinian leadership, and would consequently lift the sanctions it imposed on Hamas, sources in the entourage of French President Nicolas Sarkozy told France 2 television on Monday.

The European Union has classified Hamas as a terror organization, and has refused to negotiate with the group since it was elected to lead the Palestinian Authority in 2006.

On Sunday, the leaders of six key European Union states voiced their commitment to helping prevent Hamas from replenishing its weapons stocks. The leaders of France, Germany, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom and the Czech Republic, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, visited Jerusalem and dined with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Sunday, expressing their support for Israel following the three-week operation in Gaza, and their support for the cease-fire.