UN envoy visits Gaza in nod to Palestinian unity

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A top U.N. envoy has met with four ministers of the new Palestinian unity government in the formerly Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, assuring them of United Nations support.

Robert Serry's visit to Gaza on Sunday came despite Israeli appeals to the international community to shun the unity government, which is backed by rival Hamas and Fatah.

The West considers Hamas a terror group but appears to have accepted assurances by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Fatah, that the new Cabinet will follow his non-violent program.

Serry, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon's envoy to the region, was the first senior international official to meet with unity government members in Gaza. Serry promised more U.N. development aid in Gaza and called for lifting a Gaza border blockade enforced by Israel and Egypt.

©2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.