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Published: Sunday April 27, 2014 MYT 2:05:04 AM
Updated: Sunday April 27, 2014 MYT 2:05:57 AM

Iran hails Palestinian truce, but silent on unity government

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran, a staunch enemy of Israel, greeted on Saturday the reconciliation pact between the two main Palestinian factions, but kept silent on their deal for a unity government.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran welcomes any act of unity, solidarity and national reconciliation among Palestinians against the Zionist occupiers," foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said in comments carried by Iranian media.

But she made no direct reference to the deal between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and militant group Hamas for a unity government.

"Iran backs any decision toward realisation of precious ideals against an aggressive and expansionist regime," the official IRNA news agency quoted her as saying.

The deal between Hamas and Abbas's Fatah party envisions agreement on a government of independent technocrats within five weeks and holding elections at least six months later.

Iran has long supported Hamas and other militant factions bent on destroying the "illegitimate" Jewish state, but these ties have come under strain in recent years due to conflicting loyalties in the Syrian civil war. Ruled by an ideological Shi'ite Muslim clergy, the Islamic republic backs its strategic Middle East ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Hamas roots for radical Sunni groups in the Syrian opposition.

(Reporting by Mehrdad Balali; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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