Photo: AFP
Photo: AP

Rice: US warned Carter not to talk to Hamas

Secretary of state claims US administration explicitly warned former president not to meet representatives of the Islamic group, so as not to confuse message that US will not deal with Hamas

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the Bush administration explicitly warned former President Jimmy Carter against meeting with members of Hamas, the Palestinian faction that controls the Gaza Strip and which is regarded by the US as a terror group.


Rice, attending a regional meeting on Iraq's security and future Tuesday, contradicted Carter's assertions that he never got a clear signal from the State Department. Rice told reporters that the US thought the visit could confuse the message that the US will not deal with Hamas.


Carter says top Hamas leaders told him during seven hours of talks in Damascus over the weekend that they are willing to live next to Israel, but a top Hamas official said the group would never outright recognize the Jewish state.


During his long Middle East journey Carter met with several Arab leaders, including Syrian President Bashar Assad. His most controversial meeting was with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Damascus.


Israel's ambassador to the US, Sallai Meridor, has also criticized Carter's meeting with Mashaal, saying that it could unintentionally encourage terror and undermine peace efforts. According to Meridor, the meeting contradicted the fundamental principles of the international community.


Ynetnews contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 04.22.08, 14:20
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