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Rice: US Still Considers Hamas a Terrorist Group

26 January 2006

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the United States still considers Hamas a terrorist organization and urged it renounce violence following the group's apparent victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections.

Secretary Rice says she has spoken to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, as well as Israeli and European officials about the vote. She says that while the Palestinian people have voted for change, she believes their aspirations for peace have not changed.

Rice added that the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia will soon meet to discuss how to advance the Middle East peace process following Wednesday's elections.

Israel's acting prime minister, Ehud Olmert, is discussing the development with senior cabinet officials. He has said Israel will not work with a Hamas-led government.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says any group that participates in a democratic process should disarm.

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