Rice: US commited to negotiations with Abbas despite unity gov't.
By NATHAN GUTTMAN
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stressed Wednesday that the new Palestinian unity government must adhere to the three demands of the international community - recognizing Israel, renouncing terror and accepting previous agreements with Israel.
In a joint press conference at the State Department, following a meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Rice said that the US believes that the principles set by the quartet represent the will of the international community. "It's hard to have a partner for peace if you don't accept the right of the other party to exist. It goes without saying that it's hard to have a process for peace if you do not renounce violence."
At the same time, Rice reiterated the US's commitment to continue negotiations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, even after he joins a national unity government with the Hamas. "He is someone with whom we can work and we are working," Rice added.
Foreign Minister Livni said at the press conference that Israel is willing to negotiate with Abbas and that "stagnation is not Israel's government's policy," adding that Israel will find ways to revive the peace process.
Rice met Livni for an hour long working meeting, followed by a joint dinner. Earlier, Livni met with US President George Bush who dropped into her meeting with National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley at the White House.
In her meetings in Washington the Israeli foreign minister is also discussing the importance of implementing UN resolution 1701 in order to prevent the Hizbullah from re-arming and attacking Israel again. She will meet Thursday with Vice President Dick Cheney and with leading members of Congress.
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