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Rice Begins Mideast Mission, Seeking Unity Against Hamas


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Egypt Tuesday as she seeks to shore up support for a tough stance against Hamas.

Rice is beginning a regional tour on which she will encourage pressure on a Hamas-led Palestinian government to renounce violence and recognize Israel.

Rice also will visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates during her five-day mission.

A State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, said Rice will urge Arab allies to send a clear message to Hamas to meet international demands. She has made the similar appeal to European partners.

The Bush administration is reviewing its aid program for the Palestinians, following Hamas's victory in last month's Palestinian legislative elections.

As part of the review Washington has asked the Palestinian Authority to return nearly $50 million in unspent U.S. aid money.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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