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Middle East

US calls on Hamas, Hezbollah to recognise Israel

Latest update : 2009-03-11

Washington urged Islamist Palestinian group Hamas and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to renounce violence and called on the two factions to recognise Israel before expecting low-level US engagement.

AFP - The White House said Tuesday that both Hamas and Hezbollah must renounce violence and recognize Israel before they can expect even low-level US engagement.

The comments came after US ally Britain confirmed last week that it had authorized low-level contact with the political wing of Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group, to stress the urgency of disbanding militias.

"The president has stated on a number of occasions that, in order for anything like that to happen, there are certain responsibilities that those individual organizations have," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

Those requirements include recognizing the right of Israel to exist and renouncing "terrorist activities," he said, also referring to the Islamist Palestinian group Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip.

"There are activities and responsibilities that have to be undertaken by those organizations well before this administration can render a judgment," Gibbs said.

The State Department said last week that the United States was not ready to follow Britain's move.

Britain has had no official talks with Hezbollah since 2005, and last July added its military wing to a blacklist of designated terror groups.

Date created : 2009-03-11