Colin Powell called for talks between the United States and Hamas.
“I think you’d have to find some way to talk to Hamas,” the former U.S. secretary of state said Wednesday in an interview with National Public Radio.
Powell spoke after his former boss, President Bush, and his successor, Condoleezza Rice, revived am Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative that emphasizes isolating the terrorist group that now controls the Gaza Strip. While saying “I don’t want to insert myself into what Secretary Rice is doing or what the president is doing,” Powell said Hamas is “not going to go away.”
“And we have to remember that they enjoy considerable support among the Palestinian people. They won an election that we insisted upon having,” Powell said.
He said the Islamist group is “distasteful” and “unpleasant” but must be engaged.
“I don’t think you can just cast them into outer darkness and try to find a solution to the problems of the region without taking into account the standing that Hamas has in the Palestinian community,” he said.
In a separate NPR interview the same day, Rice was adamant that Hamas would not be a partner.