October 6, 2004
US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes said she regretted Washington’s efforts in the Palestinian territories went largely unrecognised in the media.
A close aide to President George W. Bush, Hughes was appointed to her ambassadorial post tasked with changing foreigners’ perceptions of the United States, notably in the Arab and Muslim worlds.
“While I recognize that sometimes the coverage tends to portray the situation in a little different terms, I feel that the United States and President Bush don’t always get much credit for the support that we provide to the Palestinian people,” she told journalists during a visit to the Arab Institute in Paris.
“Sometimes you don’t hear about this when you’re in the region and you’re listening to the coverage in the region. I meet people who don’t really know those facts,” she added.
Hughes stressed that “we are the largest single country that assists them, and the president went before the United Nations and committed our country to supporting a Palestinian state.”
She spoke of US opposition to supplying direct help to a Palestinian government dominated by Hamas, which Washington classifies as a terrorist organisation: “We are very concerned about their government and its inability to deliver the basic necessities the Palestinian people need.”
“We believe that governments can’t have one foot in terror and one foot in governing,” she added.
But she said “we are working hard to work through the NGOs and others to deliver food and medical assistance and other assistance to the Palestinian people, because we are very concerned by the situation.”
Hughes began a three-day visit to France on Tuesday during which she will address the international women’s forum in Deauville, an annual meeting of the world’s women leaders.
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