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Rice On Helping Palestinians


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the United States remains committed to helping the Palestinian people, who have been suffering as a result of both an economic crisis and violence between Palestinian factions. Fighting between gunmen loyal to the Palestinian Authority's Hamas-led government and those loyal to the Fatah faction has killed at least twelve people.

Following a meeting in Ramallah with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Ms. Rice said the United States remains committed to helping the Palestinian people:

"I told the president that we are very concerned, of course, about the humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian territories, about the economic situation."

Palestinians, said Secretary of State Rice, are facing hardships resulting from their "lack of mobility" and "lack of movement and access." The United States, she said, will talk to Israel about improving access and movement of people and goods to and from Palestinian areas:

"I will, of course, see what I can do to make sure that some of these crossings are open longer and more frequently so that economic activity can return."

Against the backdrop of violence between the Palestinian factions, talks on forming a national unity government have foundered. Hamas, meanwhile, continues to refuse to renounce terror and recognize Israel's right to exist. President Abbas said that any new Palestinian government that is formed must honor all the commitments that the Palestinian Authority has made to the Arab world and the international community, and all of the agreements signed in the past between the Palestinian authority and Arab parties.

The United States, said Secretary of State Rice, will continue to work with its friends and allies to "break through some of the deadlocks" preventing the goal of a democratic Palestine and a democratic Israel living side by side in peace.

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

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