US Secretary of State tours Middle East, urges countries not to support new Palestinian government
Condoleeza Rice, the US secretary of state, is on a five-day trip to various countries in the Middle East to pressure countries not to support the Hamas-led Palestinian government.
After Rice’s visit to Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian head of state, made an official announcement Wednesday that Egypt would not support a Hamas-led Palestinian government unless Hamas recognized the state of Israel.
In a press conference Tuesday in Egypt Rice said about the Hamas party, which is currently in the process of forming the Palestinian government after winning a majority of votes in January’s legislative elections, "You can not have one foot in the camp of terror and another foot in the camp of politics".
Ahmad Abu Al Ghiet, the Egyptian foreign minister, said that Hamas should be given time to form a government, saying, "We should not prejudge the case, I am sure that Hamas will develop", adding that he is confident that the Palestinians will realize the importance of recognizing Israel as a state. But al Ghiet also challenged Israel’s decision Sunday to freeze tax revenues belonging to the Palestinian Authority, as punishment for their election of Hamas.