Rice criticizes Carter over planned Hamas meeting

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticized former President Jimmy Carter on Friday for his reported plans to meet the exiled leader of Hamas during a visit to Syria. Carter has not confirmed the plans to meet Khaled Mashaal, but Hamas has said the former Democratic president sent an envoy to Damascus requesting a meeting with the group's officials. "I find it hard to understand what is going to be gained by having discussions with Hamas about peace when Hamas is, in fact, the impediment to peace," Rice said at a press event with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Rice was responding to a question about Carter's plans but did not mention him by name.