US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday signaled US support for the forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas taking charge of the Gaza Strip's breached border with Egypt.
Rice said a Palestinian Authority presence might help bring "some order" to the Rafah border crossing since hundreds of thousands of Palestinians flooded across after Hamas blew up part of the border last week.
"There would be many details that would have to be worked out and I can't comment on any specific detail because this is obviously a very complex - would be a very complex operation in itself," Rice told reporters when asked whether Washington supported Abbas' forces taking charge of the border.
"But we have said that in concept it should be supported and that the parties should look to see if that might be one way to handle the situation," she said at a news conference after meeting Australia's foreign minister.
'There should be no humanitarian cost'Hamas has rejected Abbas' proposal to deploy his own, Western-trained forces at the crossing along with European Union monitors. Officials from both sides are expected in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss the issue.
Rice said she had discussed the issue with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit on Sunday night. The secretary of state has also said Hamas should do everything it could to stop the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel.
The US also asked Israel to avert a humanitarian disaster in Gaza.
"We have been very clear that there should be no humanitarian cost to the innocent people of Gaza who simply have the bad fortune to be in Gaza after Hamas launched its illegal coup against the legitimate institutions of the Palestinian Authority," said Rice, referring to Hamas' takeover of Gaza last year.