Rice visiting Egypt to discuss Gaza situation
( dpa ) - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will address the deteriorating situation in Gaza when she visits Egypt next week, a US official said Friday.
Part of the visit will be to discuss issues related to the Annapolis peace process, said Tom Casey, deputy spokesman for the US State Department.
"But also, obviously, one of the things on our minds is the situation in Gaza. And Egypt has an important role to play in that regard," he said.
Egypt was added to Rice's Middle East trip late Thursday. She is to depart for the region Monday, visiting Israel and the Palestinian Territories, to follow up on the talks amid the Gaza quagmire.
In response to a question, Casey said that there would be no effort made in Egypt to seek contact with Hamas.
"They're a terrorist organization. And we certainly don't intend to change that policy," he said.
Casey condemned the continuing rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel, adding: "It's pretty hard to say that Hamas has a legitimate role to play in this process if their main policy is to promote terror."
Hamas last year won the Palestinian elections and has since taken over the Gaza Strip, leaving the West Bank to governance by the more moderate Fatah organization.