Swearing-in of unity government in Ramallah
Swearing-in of unity government in RamallahFlash 90

In a sign that the international community is recognizing the new Hamas-Fatah unity government, a United Nations envoy on Sunday became the first senior international official to meet with ministers of the new government in Gaza.

According to The Associated Press (AP), Robert Serry met with four Gaza-based ministers of the new Cabinet.

"I assured them of the full support of the United Nations, which is ready to increase its considerable program of works in Gaza, including in the priority areas of water and energy," Serry said in a statement quoted by the news agency.

Serry also called on Israel and Egypt to lift a blockade on Gaza which has been in effect since Hamas violently took control of the region in 2007.

Mofeed al-Hassaina, the new housing minister in the Hamas-Fatah cabinet, said the meeting was important "because it reflects the international recognition of this unity government."

The new unity coalition was sworn in last week. This was followed by announcements from the European Union, the United States and the United Nations, which said they were open to working with the new unity government despite the inclusion of Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he is "deeply troubled" by the United States' decision to work with the new government, while American lawmakers called on the Obama administration to respond to the new unity government by suspending aid to the Palestinian Authority.

The State Department rejected Israel’s expressions of disappointment, saying that the new government does not include any members of the Hamas terrorist group.