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U.S. Says PNA Must Dismantle Terrorist Groups

U.S. Says Palestinian Authority Must Act to Dismantle Terrorist Groups

White House Report, August 12: Mideast, Liberia, North Korea, U.S. economy

"[W]e condemn, in strongest terms, today's terrorist attacks which claimed the lives of innocent Israeli civilians and injured many more," White House Deputy Press Secretary Clair Buchan told reporters August 12 in Crawford, Texas.

News reports say two Palestinian suicide bombers killed two Israelis and injured 12 others in separate attacks near a West Bank settlement.

"The Palestinian Authority must act now to dismantle terrorist networks that perpetuate such attacks, and to prevent future attacks," said Buchan.

"While all parties have responsibilities in bringing peace to the Middle East, ending terror must be the highest priority, and all parties -- the Palestinians, the Israelis, and partners in the region -- must work immediately to end terror and to keep open the path for peace," she said.

Asked whether the United States is confident that the Palestinian Authority has the ability to dismantle terror networks, Buchan said, "We are in an important moment, and progress is being made, progress has been made, since the Aqaba Summit. And we are encouraged that [Palestinian] Prime Minister Abbas is committed to peace, and that is an important step."

"So it is a hopeful moment, and the parties have an opportunity to seize peace," she added.

"Clearly, dismantling terrorist networks is a very high priority, the highest priority, and all parties have a responsibility to address terror," she said.

Buchan said "Israel has a right to defend itself, but, as always, bearing in mind the consequences of their actions with regard to the ongoing peace process."

U.S. WORKING TO ENSURE HUMANITARIAN RELIEF IN LIBERIA

Asked about the situation in Liberia, Buchan said, "The president welcomes the developments in Liberia and we are working to ensure that humanitarian relief can flow to those who need it."

"The people of Liberia have endured a great suffering and we will work with ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] partners to help ensure that that humanitarian relief gets to the people," she said, adding that U.S. Marines are off the coast of Liberia now to provide support to West African peacekeepers.

After months of U.S. and U.N. insistence, former Liberian President Charles Taylor left Liberia for exile in Nigeria August 11. Vice President Moses Blah is serving now as president.

"President Blah is the constitutional successor to President Taylor. We expect him to remain in place temporarily until a transitional government can be agreed upon by all parties at the peace talks in Accra, Ghana," Buchan said.

"We will work with President Blah to maintain the cease-fire and ensure a smooth transition to the transitional government," she added.

The United States still expects Taylor to be held accountable for war crimes committed in Sierra Leone, she said.

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