Middle East Quartet falls short of backing Israeli demand to bar Hamas from January elections

debkafile notes that Washington hardly waited for Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to arrive home Monday, Sept. 20 from collecting plaudits at the UN for pulling off the evacuation of Gaza, before applying the brakes.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was asked about Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon’s threat to obstruct the conduct of the Palestinian election if Hamas is allowed to run. She replied: This is a transitional process. We have to give the Palestinians some room for the evolution of their political process.”
She spoke at the Middle East Quartet meeting in New York, attended also by the British, French and Russian foreign ministers and the UN secretary. They issued a joint statement calling on the Palestinians to maintain law and order following Israel’s withdrawal and “dismantle terrorist capabilities and infrastructure.”
Rice refrained from voicing Washington’s objection to the electiblity of Hamas, a Islamist terrorist organization dedicated to destroying Israel.

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