US tells Arab states: Push Hamas to talk to Israel

The Bush administration asked Arab leaders on Tuesday to encourage Hamas, which the United States, the European Union and Israel consider a terror organization, to deal with the Jewish state. On Monday, after a meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the crown prince of Bahrain said a Hamas-led Palestinian government had no alternative. "They will be obliged to do that" if they want to solve the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, Sheik Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa said. "Hurry up," he advised Hamas, which the United States and the European Union have pledged to boycott unless it abandons terror and accepts Israel and the agreements that Israel has reached with the Palestinian Authority. "Certainly we welcome those comments," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, "and we would urge others throughout the Arab world to echo those sentiments."