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Condoleezza Rice Comments on Palestinian Elections

26 January 2006 - Davos, Switzerland

Despite the Hamas gains in the Palestinian elections, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today offered her congratulations to President Abbas and the Palestinian people on peaceful elections that were "by all accounts fair". But she emphasized that the US government's position towards Hamas has not changed.

"You cannot have one foot in politics and the other in terror," she said, addressing the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting via live video satellite hook-up.

"The Palestinian people have apparently voted for change, but we believe that their aspirations for peace and a peaceful life remain unchanged. Those aspirations can only be met through a two-state solution, which requires a renunciation of violence, and turning away from terrorism, and accepting the right of Israel to exist and the disarmament of militias."

Answering questions from panellists in Davos, Rice also addressed the issue of nuclear proliferation in Iran and affirmed the US government's commitment to referring Iran to the UN Security Council for that country's moves towards developing nuclear weaponry potential. "There will be many options available to the Security Council, but we believe that that is only the start of a new phase of diplomacy," she declared.

Asked about China, Secretary Rice said Beijing must understand that it has a role to play in improving security in the region - as it has in the six-party talks on North Korea - and "not just commenting". The US has also held discussions with Chinese leaders on creating a more open political system as China's economy grows. "It is very hard to tell people to think at work but not at home," she argued.

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Last updated: 26 January 2006
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