Envoy Welch promises US support for Abu Mazen’s leadership and continued humanitarian aid despite Hamas rise to power.

He spoke Saturday in Ramallah after Mahmoud Abbas offers to quit if Hamas declines to recognize Israel. Abbas made the offer in an interview with British ITN TV which is scheduled for broadcast Sunday. debkafile cites the key passage of the Abu Mazen interview as being the comment urging Israel and the international community to give Hamas time to moderate its attitudes. He said Russia is likely to be influential in persuading Hamas to renounce violence and recognize Israel. Mahmoud Abbas was saying out loud, in advance of a Hamas delegation’s visit to Moscow next week, that the Palestinians are transferring the lead-role in their international relations from Washington to the Russians, who accepted the Hamas election victory unlike the West. Far from resigning, Abu Mazen is the live wire behind this policy reorientation.
Sunday, the US envoy will report to Israeli leaders on Condoleezza Rice’s talks in Cairo and Riyadh and her failure to persuade both Arab governments to cut funds to a Hamas-led government.

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