WASHINGTON (AP) – President Bush, addressing two international flash points, said Monday he will not support a Palestinian government made up of Hamas and that the United States is trying to build a united front to stop Iran’s nuclear program.
“The Hamas party has made it clear that they do not support the right of Israel,” Bush said after meeting with his Cabinet. “And I have made it clear that so long as that’s their policy, that we will not support a Palestinian government made up of Hamas.”
Bush said that Hamas, which won a decisive majority in last week’s Palestinian legislative elections, must get rid of its arms and disavow terrorism.
Bush spoke amid discouraging reports regarding Iran, another Mideast trouble spot. Talks between Tehran and European nations in Belgium appeared to make little progress. John Sawers, a senior British official at the talks, said that Iran offered nothing new in its approach in the meeting, which was not a formal negotiating session.
Bush said an option now is for the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council _ the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China _ to work together to bring the case to the full Council. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was joining foreign ministers from the four other members and Germany in London Monday night.
“And we’re going to continue to work with our friends and allies to present a united front to the Iranians,” Bush said. “And the message is: Give up your nuclear weapons ambitions. The good news is, most of the world recognizes that Iran being the nontransparent society that it is, a government that had violated IAEA rules, is one that cannot be trusted with technology that could enable it to develop a nuclear weapon.”
Bush met with his Cabinet ahead of Tuesday night’s State of the Union address. In the speech, he said, he will talk about how the Iranian people should live in freedom and discuss plans for health care, energy and education.
As has now become traditional immediately following the State of the Union address, Bush is taking his proposals on the road in the days afterward. He plans a speech a week for the next four weeks so that he can talk in more detail about domestic initiatives.