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U.S. on Palestinian government: Hamas is sticking point

    * Story Highlights
    * Clinton: U.S. at the moment couldn't work with unity government including 
Hamas
    * Hamas would have to recognize Israel, renounce violence, Clinton says
    * U.S. secretary of state to meet with Palestinian Authority leaders in 
West Bank

By Jill Dougherty
CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday ruled out 
working with any Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas if Hamas does 
not agree to recognize Israel.

"In the absence of Hamas agreeing to the principles that have been adopted by 
such a broad range of international actors, I don't see that we or they -- or 
anyone -- could deal with Hamas," Clinton said in an interview with CNN.

The interview came on the eve of Clinton's visit to the West Bank for meetings 
with Palestinian Authority leaders.

Clinton said Hamas must do what the Palestine Liberation Organization has done, 
which is comply with the principles set out by the Quartet -- the United 
States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations -- and adopted by the 
Arab League: Renounce violence, recognize Israel and agree to abide by prior 
PLO commitments."

Asked by CNN whether that means a public announcement by Hamas, the secretary 
said, "Well, the PLO did that, and I think no less can be expected of Hamas 
which is, obviously, not only a terrorist group but is increasingly a client of 
Iran."

The PLO is an umbrella group that includes the Fatah Party of Palestinian 
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The PLO recognized the state of Israel in 
1993.

The interview was conducted a short time after Clinton met with Israeli 
Prime-Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, who does not support an 
independent Palestinian state, the bedrock of U.S. policy.

Asked whether the United States could effectively work with Netanyahu anyway, 
Clinton said, "The two-state solution is the inevitable, inescapable outcome of 
any effort. It is hard to imagine what other positive outcome could be arrived 
at."

The United States, she added, will present its view to the Israeli government 
when it is formed but "the future of the Israeli people is up to the 
democratically elected government of Israel."

Tuesday, in another sign of thawing relations with Syria, Clinton announced 
that she is sending two envoys to Damascus. Asked what the ultimate aim is, 
Clinton said, "We're not jumping to any conclusions, we're not using any 
adjectives to describe this. It's in the course of diplomatic outreach."

Clinton added that the United States has "a long list of concerns we have about 
Syrian behavior."

There is worry in Israel over the United States' willingness to engage with 
Iran, but Clinton said "any steps that the United States takes [with Iran] will 
be only after we have determined that we have a broad base of understanding 
amongst a large group of nations who share our concern about Iran."

U.S. President Barack Obama has said the United States is looking for 
opportunities for "face to face" dialogue with Iran, though he has "deep 
concerns" about the actions of Iran's leaders.

The United States, Israel and other nations have raised concerns about Iran's 
nuclear program, which Iran insists is only for peaceful purposes. Iran tested 
its first nuclear power plant last week using "dummy" fuel rods. Iranian 
officials said the next test will use enriched uranium, but it's not clear when 
the test will be held or when the facility will be fully operational.

"Engagement, of whatever nature, is not being done just for the sake of 
engaging Iran," Clinton said. "What we are looking for is a way to end Iran's 
nuclear program, end Iran's sponsorship of terrorism, of groups like Hamas and 
Hezbollah, [and] an end to Iran's actions in a negative or adversarial way with 
its neighbors. ... There is a lot that Iran is doing which is deeply concerning 
to people in the region and beyond."

All AboutHamas • Hillary Clinton • Israel
 
 
Links referenced within this article

Israel
http://topics.edition.cnn.com/topics/Israel
Hamas
http://topics.edition.cnn.com/topics/Hamas
Clinton
http://topics.edition.cnn.com/topics/Hillary_Clinton
Hamas
http://topics.edition.cnn.com/topics/Hamas
Hillary Clinton
http://topics.edition.cnn.com/topics/Hillary_Clinton
Israel
http://topics.edition.cnn.com/topics/Israel

 
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