US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Rules Out Talks With Hamas

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has ruled out negotiations with the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas unless it drops its extremist stance, saying her position is “absolute”.

“On Israel, you cannot negotiate with Hamas until it renounces violence, recognises Israel and agrees to abide by past agreements. That is just for me an absolute,” Mrs Clinton told a Senate confirmation hearing.

“That is the United States government’s position. That is the president-elect’s position,” she said after a senator suggested it is “naive and illogical” to pursue diplomacy with governments opposed to Israel.

She echoed the stance of the outgoing administration of President George W. Bush which is supporting Egyptian efforts to mediate a ceasefire following an 18-day Israeli war to stop Hamas rocket attacks.

Palestinian medical sources said around 70 more people had been killed in the fighting, bringing the overall toll to around 975 Palestinians with a further 4400 wounded.

On the Israeli side, 10 soldiers and three civilians have been killed in combat or by rocket attacks since December 27 when the Jewish state began its deadliest ever offensive on Gaza, ruled by the Islamists of Hamas since the group won elections in mid-2007.

The Bush administration has opposed negotiations with what it calls a terrorist organisation.

Mr Obama has proposed reaching out to the leaders of anti-US countries like Iran, North Korea and Cuba, but analysts doubted he would engage with Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah, which the US denounces as terrorist groups.

During her confirmation hearing, Mrs Clinton said the new administration will try a “new approach” toward Iran by engaging it diplomatically.

Insight-info

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