Secretary's Remarks: Remarks by Secretary Clinton and Special Envoy Mitchell After Their Meeting
Tue, 03 Feb 2009 09:17:06 -0600
QUESTION: -- (inaudible) it's clear that from the President's first interview and from the first stop in Cairo that the Administration is making a concerted effort to send a signal of the priorities and the balance, and perhaps a rebalancing. Is that enough going in? Or, eventually, does there have to be a path, a diplomatic path to Hamas, in order to resolve Gaza? And if I could ask both of you, Madame Secretary.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Andrea, you know, we have a very clear policy toward Hamas, and Hamas knows the conditions that have been set forth. They must renounce violence. They must recognize Israel. And they must agree to abide by prior agreements that were entered into by the Palestinian Authority.
We are just at the beginning of this deep and consistent engagement that we are part of, that Senator Mitchell is leading for our Administration, but our conditions with respect to Hamas have not and will not change. It is our hope that the work that needs to be done to move the parties toward an effort to settle many of the disputes that they currently confront will be effective. But Hamas knows that it must stop the rocket fire into Israel. There were rockets yesterday, there were rockets this morning. And it is very difficult to ask any nation to do anything other than defend itself in the wake of that kind of consistent attack. So that's not new news. You know what our position is. It is something that the President has set forth.
We are not able to, you know, look into the future to see whether there will be changes on the part of Hamas that would meet our conditions. But you know, certainly, that would be a clear path for them to follow. We are going to report to the President in the next day. And, you know, we'll have more to say as this process moves forward. But again, I want to thank Senator Mitchell for undertaking one of the most difficult assignments that anyone could be willing to shoulder.
And we want to send a clear message, as he did, both listening and responding during the last week, that the United States is committed to this path, and we are going to work as hard as we can over what period of time is required to try to help the parties make progress together. So thank you all very much.
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