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Carter Meeting Sparks New Debate Over Engaging Hamas

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter met Friday with leaders from Hamas, a militant group labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. and Israel. The meeting sparked renewed debate over whether any negotiations should include the Palestinian group.

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    A former U.S. president talks to a Palestinian leader labeled a terrorist by the U.S. government. Margaret Warner picks up that story.


    Former President Jimmy Carter's unofficial Mideast peace mission this week has taken him to Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia. But the most controversial stop by far was his meeting today in Syria with Khaled Mashal, the exiled political leader of the Palestinian organization Hamas.

    Hamas, labeled by the U.S. as a terrorist organization, currently controls the Palestinian Gaza Strip. But the U.S. and Israel talk only to the Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank.

    Jimmy Carter has said no peace agreement can be reached without talking to Hamas.

    For two views on the Carter talks, we turn to Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; and Mark Perry, an author and journalist who is now co-director of the Conflicts Forum. It's a British-American organization promoting engagement between the West and political Islam.

    Welcome to you both, gentlemen.