Livni to US: Keep up pressure on Hamas

"Int'l community cannot be dragged down Palestinians' slippery slope."

olmert and livni 88.298 (photo credit: AP [file])
olmert and livni 88.298
(photo credit: AP [file])
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will call on the US administration Wednesday to keep up the pressure on the Hamas and not to give in to attempts to recognize the Hamas before it adheres to the rules set forth by the international community. Livni will meet Wednesday with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and with Vice President Dick Cheney, in what will be the first high level discussion between Israeli and American officials since the Palestinian elections. "It is important for us that the international community speaks in a loud and clear voice on this issue and that it does not go down the slippery slope the Palestinians are trying to drag everyone," said Livni to reporters in Washington following her meeting with the visiting Jordanian King Abdullah. Abdullah will meet with President George Bush Wednesday and discuss with him the situation in the Middle East. In her meeting with Abdullah, Livni discussed the victory of the Hamas in the elections for the Palestinian parliament and the implications it will have on the entire region. Livni opened her Washington visit Tuesday and will meet with administration officials and Congress leaders on Wednesday. Prior to her visit, a senior administration said that the US is looking forward to meet the new foreign minister and will be interested in hearing from her on Israel's views concerning the future of the elations with the Palestinian Authority. The official said Livni is "a friend" of Secretary of State Rice and that the meetings with her are part of an attempt by the administration to renew the ties with Israel that were "paused" since PM Sharon became ill. Minister Livni said in Washington that Israel is not opposed to giving financial aid to the Palestinian Authority, but insisted that the donors should make sure that the PA accepts the demands regarding the need for the Hamas to recognize Israel, renounce terror and dismantle its terror operation. "Israel recognizes the need to take care of the Palestinians as part of Israel's interest. We do not want the Palestinians to live in poverty conditions," Livni said. She added that it is important for the Palestinian Authority take into consideration "what will happen if they refuse to accept the conditions set out by the international community." Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to have a joint press conference with minister Livni following their meeting Wednesday. This is seen as a gesture to the Israeli guest, since in most cases there is no joint press availability.