Oct 19, 3:22 AM EDT

US envoy: Hamas must disarm to join Palestinian government


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JERUSALEM (AP) -- President Donald Trump's special Mideast envoy says if Hamas wants to play a role in any Palestinian government it must renounce violence and commit to peaceful negotiations with Israel.

Jason Greenblatt's statement Thursday was the first American comment on the advancing reconciliation efforts between the rival Palestinian Fatah and Hamas factions, and echoed Israeli demands.

Greenblatt says Hamas must meet the international demands to recognize Israel and accept previous agreements with it. He says "it must accept these basic requirements" to take part in government. Hamas has always refused similar demands in the past.

Under Egyptian auspices, the Palestinian factions last week announced a preliminary agreement and have formed committees to sort out unresolved issues, most notably who will control Hamas' massive weapons arsenal. Talks continue with Fatah.

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