Thursday, January 12, 2006

Olmert tells Bush: No Mideast peace with Hamas in govt

Thu Jan 12, 11:34 AM ET

Israel's Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told US President George W. Bush that there could be no progress in the Middle East peace process if Hamas entered a Palestinian government.
In their first telephone conversation since Ariel Sharon was admitted to hospital, Olmert updated the US leader on Sharon's health, as well as discussing this month's Palestinian parliamentary election which is being contested by the radical Islamist movement Hamas, said the prime minister's office.
Olmert told Bush that Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas must "take steps against terrorism and disband the terrorist organisations because otherwise there can be no progress with an administration in which there are terrorist organisations as members," a statement said Thursday.
Israel and the United States both regard Hamas, responsible for the majority of attacks during a five-year Palestinian uprising, as a terrorist organisation despite its embrace of the democratic process.
Hamas is contesting the parliamentary elections for a first time on January 25, giving the ruling Fatah faction the first real run for its money.
"Acting Prime Minister Olmert said that the Israeli people appreciated US President Bush's determination to fight terrorism and not compromise with it," said the statement.
"The US president replied there can be no differentiation between kinds of terrorism and said that there can be no peace with terrorist organizations.
"He emphasized that the Palestinian Authority had to prove that it was able to act against terrorism and added that the US is working to establish democratic institutions in the PA that will advance peace and not terrorism."
Bush exhorted Hamas to change its policy towards Israel and recognise its right to exist, while adding it was important for the Palestinian security services to be reformed, the statement continued.
At the end of their conversation, Bush asked Olmert to convey to Sharon's sons, Omri and Gilad, that he esteems their father very highly.
The US president said that it was "very important" that Sharon recover and "know that his friend in the US is thinking about him and is concerned for him," finished the statement.

No comments:

Post a Comment