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US Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice Calls for Total Outlawing of Hamas - 2003-06-26

U.S. national security advisor Condoleezza Rice has called for the total outlawing of the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Her comments were made in London while en route to the Middle East, where she will hold weekend talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Speaking at a London conference Thursday, Ms. Rice urged both Arab and European Union nations to help the peace process by breaking off all contact with the political wing of Hamas.

Currently the EU only lists the armed wing of Hamas as banned.

But Ms. Rice said that the notion that on the one hand the group is peaceful and on the other it is trying to blow up the peace process is simply illogical. Because of this she contended, contact with all of parts of Hamas must be broken.

Hamas as a whole has long been on the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations and President Bush has called the group, the biggest obstacle to the Israeli-Palestinian "road map" peace initiative.

But the national security advisor did not stop there. She said that other radical groups like Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and "all other rejectionists" should get the same treatment.

Ms. Rice also touched upon Iraq. She urged patience and expressed optimism that the country would eventually get back on its feet. Despite the fact that coalition troops are now coming under daily isolated attacks, she added that order will re-emerge but it will take time.

On North Korea, the national security advisor drove home the warning that the country's nuclear program will have to be stopped.

On Iran, she was equally blunt, saying the world should not tolerate any attempt by the country to acquire nuclear weapons.

Given the rift with several U.S. allies over the case of going to war in Iraq, Ms. Rice said the United States would prefer multilateral solutions to these security issues, but it does want solutions.