Rice: It was Carter mistake to meet Hamas members
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday the Bush administration explicitly warned former President Jimmy Carter against meeting with members of Hamas. Rice, attending a regional meeting on Iraq's security and future, contradicted Carter's claims that he never got a clear signal from the State Department. According to the AP, Rice told reporters that the U.S. thought the visit could confuse the message that the U.S. will not deal with Hamas.
"I just don't want there to be any confusion," Rice noted. "The United States is not going to deal with Hamas and we had certainly told President Carter that we did not think meeting with Hamas was going to help" further a political settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.
Separately Tuesday, a Hamas official said the Palestinian group has softened its demands for a cease-fire with Israel. Spokesman Ghazi Hamad said Hamas is now prepared for a partial truce that would only include the Gaza Strip.