Meeting Abbas, Rice outlines 'constructive' path forward for peace with Israel

In Ramallah, the US National Security Advisor makes clear to the Palestinian President the principles that must guide the Palestinian gov't to achieve peace.

May 9, 2014 01:56
2 minute read.
National Security Adviser Susan Rice.

National Security Adviser Susan Rice 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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WASHINGTON -- Any power-sharing Palestinian government must recognize the state of Israel, renounce violence and adhere to previous agreements, whether it includes Hamas or not, US National Security Advisor Susan Rice told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting in Ramallah on Thursday.

According to the White House, Rice made "clear... the principles that must guide a Palestinian government in order for it to play a constructive role in achieving peace and building an independent Palestinian state."

"She reiterated US policy that any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognition of the State of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations between the parties," the White House said in a statement after the meeting.

Congress has written into law clear conditions governing the appropriation of Palestinian aid, and requires a cutoff should these conditions not be met.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed shortly after Abbas' party, Fatah, announced its intent to reconcile with Hamas, a terrorist organization as listed by the US, Israel and the European Union.

The White House and the team of US Secretary of State John Kerry, who led the negotiations with fervor over the course of nine months, are seeking a path forward that will continue the talks.

In the meantime, the administration is calling the current impasse a "pause" in the peace process.

Since the Hamas-Fatah pact was signed, Israel has been trying to get the US and other countries to pressure Abbas to back out of that agreement, saying that Israel would continue talking with him if there was no deal with Hamas, but reiterating that it will not engage with him in a Palestinian government backed by the terrorist organization.

Rice has not taken a prominent role in the Kerry-driven negotiations. Her trip to the region with other key administration officials was planned weeks ago, before the suspension of the talks, and designed to focus on Iran.

Before going to Ramallah, Rice participated in the US-Israel Consultative Group meetings in Jerusalem that the White House described as “intensive and highly constructive,” covering “a range of bilateral and regional security issues.”

The US delegation reaffirmed Washington’s “commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” and briefed the Israeli team, headed by National Security Council head Yossi Cohen, on the ongoing negotiations with Iran, which will resume next week, the White House said.

“The delegations held thorough consultations on all aspects of the challenge posed by Iran, and pledged to continue the unprecedented coordination between the United States and Israel as the negotiations continue,” the White House said. “On other critical regional and bilateral issues, the delegations shared views candidly and intensively, in the spirit of the extraordinary and unprecedented security cooperation between our two countries.”

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