Rice: Hamas unity gov't complicates peace efforts

February 16, 2007 04:49

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reaffirmed US support for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas even as she said his plan to govern alongside Hamas complicates US peacemaking efforts. Rice suggested Thursdasy that the Bush administration has strong reservations about Abbas's planned union with a group the West labels terrorists, but she would not confirm that US diplomats have warned Abbas that Washington would shun the new government. Rice said she will reserve judgment until the coalition government is formed and its policies clear. She said she has seen no evidence yet that the government intends to meet international demands to recognize Israel, renounce violence and abide by agreements made by the previous secular Palestinian government. "Talking about recognizing or not recognizing the government" is premature, Rice said. "There isn't one yet. When there is one, the United States will make a determination."

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