Vice President Dick Cheney says Hamas militants and their backers in Iran and Syria are trying to sabotage Mideast peace. Concluding two days of talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Mr. Cheney said this:
"Terror and rockets do not merely kill innocent civilians, they also kill the legitimate hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian people. A negotiated end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one that addresses the legitimate national claims of both peoples, would have limitless value. Years of mistrust and violence have achieved nothing, and the extremists who have stood in the way of a settlement, have only caused further grief and suffering for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples."
Vice President Cheney met with both Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to ensure the continuation of the peace talks that began last year in Annapolis, Maryland. Mr. Cheney says he is working on behalf of President George W. Bush to encourage both parties and offer them the support that they need:
"I am reiterating the President's commitment to his vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. Reaching the necessary agreement will require tough decisions and painful concessions by both sides, but America is committed to moving the process forward."
The United States, says Vice President Cheney, wants "to see a resolution to the conflict, an end to terrorism that has caused so much grief to Israelis, and a new beginning for the Palestinian people."