January 13, 2009
US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has ruled out negotiations with the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas unless it drops its extremist stance, saying her position is “absolute”.
“On Israel, you cannot negotiate with Hamas until it renounces violence, recognises Israel and agrees to abide by past agreements. That is just for me an absolute,” Mrs Clinton told a Senate confirmation hearing.
“That is the United States government’s position. That is the president-elect’s position,” she said after a senator suggested it is “naive and illogical” to pursue diplomacy with governments opposed to Israel.
She echoed the stance of the outgoing administration of President George W. Bush which is supporting Egyptian efforts to mediate a ceasefire following an 18-day Israeli war to stop Hamas rocket attacks.
Palestinian medical sources said around 70 more people had been killed in the fighting, bringing the overall toll to around 975 Palestinians with a further 4400 wounded.