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Quartet’ reaffirms conditions

The diplomatic “Quartet” overseeing Mideast peace efforts reaffirmed its demands of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority. Officials from the United States, European Union, Russia and United Nations said after convening Wednesday in Berlin that they would continue to call on the Palestinian Authority to recognize Israel, accept past peace deals and renounce terrorism if the government wants Western aid. But the Quartet also reserved judgment on the recent power-sharing deal between Hamas and the more moderate Palestinian faction Fatah, with diplomats saying they would meet again when the new Cabinet takes shape. Russia has been pushing for the West to end its aid embargo on the Palestinian Authority regardless of Hamas’ hard-line policies, a view the United States rejects. “How can it be that you have talks about peace when one party will not recognize the other party’s right to exist?” U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said at a news conference.