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US: 'no plot' for Hamas ouster
Updated: 2006-02-15 09:17

The United States and Israel were not plotting to destabilize a Hamas-led Palestinian government, the White House said on Tuesday, but urged the militant group to respect Israeli-Palestinian accords.

The New York Times reported that US and Israeli officials were discussing ways to isolate Hamas, which won an overwhelming victory in the Palestinian election, if it failed to recognize Israel's right to exist and renounce violence.

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal talks to the media upon arrival in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, February 12, 2006. [Reuters]
"There's no plot," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. "The issue that this goes to is the choice that Hamas has before it. If it wants to realize better relations with the international community, then Hamas must renounce violence, recognize Israel and disarm."

At the State Department, spokesman Sean McCormack denied Washington was developing a strategy that differed from its public policy.

"The conversations that we are having with the Israeli government are the same conversations we are having with other members of the international community," he said.

McClellan told reporters that Palestinian officials had for years recognized Israel's right to exist and worked in negotiations toward peace.

"If Palestinians were to change that decade-old policy, then their relations with the international community will change as well," he said.

Hamas defeated Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement in the January 25 election on a pledge to end corruption and continue armed struggle for statehood. It is pledged officially to the destruction of Israel which it says is built on occupied Arab land.

"The United States, which claims herself to be the mother of democracy, must respect the election results and the will of the Palestinian people," Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri said.

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