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Quartet Acts On Palestinian Issue

Representatives of the U.S., the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia -- a group known as the Quartet -- met to discuss ways to provide assistance to the Palestinian people.

U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the Quartet "underscored its continued commitment to a two-state solution, as embodied in the roadmap," a plan for peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbor. Mr. Annan also said that the Quartet is concerned "that the Palestinian Authority government has so far failed to commit itself to the principles of nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the roadmap."

When Hamas, a terrorist organization, won the January parliamentary elections, the Quartet said donors should withhold direct aid to the Palestinian Authority unless it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel's right to exist, and abides by all previous agreements, including the road map. Hamas has refused to do so. But the Quartet has set up what it calls a "temporary international mechanism" to channel aid to the Palestinians without having to go through the Palestinian Authority.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the mechanism is a temporary measure, subject to review in three months:

"The goal here is not to transfer responsibility for meeting the needs of the Palestinian people from its government to the international community. It is to provide assistance to the Palestinian people so that they do not suffer deprivation and do not suffer a humanitarian crisis. That's the goal here."

In a written statement, Ms. Rice says the U.S. "is providing ten million dollars in medicine and related supplies to the Palestinian people, who face a severe shortage in pharmaceuticals and medical equipment." The U.S., says Ms. Rice, "will continue to look for ways to assist the Palestinian people." But, she says, the U.S. "will not...provide support to a Hamas-led government that refuses to accept the calls of the Quartet and the broader international community to renounce terror and become a partner for peace."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.