WASHINGTON - Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni says a Hamas-led Palestinian government could be designated a terrorist state, subject to sanctions, if it does not renounce terrorism and recognize Israel.
Speaking at a joint press conference with American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Livni said: "When an entity, a state is being led by terrorists, the meaning is that this entity, this authority, this state is going to transfer into a terror state."
Livni and Rice (Photo: AFP)
Rice, meanwhile, said the optimal solution would be recognition of Israel by any Palestinian government. Israel is a member of the United Nations, Rice said, and stressed Hamas must recognize the Jewish state and renounce terror.
Turning her attention to Israeli fund transfers to the Palestinian Authority, Livni said the latest fund transfer was a one-time decision that will be reexamined in the future. Israeli law prevents the transfer of funds that may be used for terrorism, she said.
Regarding the peace process, Rice expressed her hope negotiations may be renewed on the basis of the Road Map peace initiative, noting the U.S. hopes for a future peace partner on the Palestinian side. The secretary of state said Palestinians voted for a change but still wish to live peacefully.
Rice: Iran, Syria stoke Muslim anger
The only way to strike a peace deal is through two countries that would recognize each other's right to exist, Rice said, stressing that no party must unilaterally determine final-status borders in the area.
"No one should try and unilaterally predetermine the outcome of a final status agreement," she said.
Meanwhile, Rice also accused Iran and Syria of deliberately stoking Muslim anger in a dispute over cartoons satirizing the Prophet Mohammad that has sparked deadly protests.
"Iran and Syria have gone out of their way to inflame sentiments and to use this to their own purposes and the world ought to call them on it," Rice said at the press conference.
Earlier, President George W. Bush said governments should stop the violence that has erupted over the cartoons, including attacks on Western diplomatic missions in parts of the Muslim world.