Middle East to get first taste of ´peacemaker´ Rice (FT-FINANCIAL TIMES) By Guy Dinmore in Washington and Krishna Guha in Davos 01/27/05 20:23)
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Condoleezza Rice, in her first day as secretary of state, on Thursday
declared her commitment to answer “history´s calling” to advance
freedom, as officials disclosed she would make her first overseas
trip to Europe and the Middle East as early as next week.
Diplomats said her itinerary would include London, Paris, Brussels,
Berlin, Warsaw, Rome, Ankara, Jerusalem and the Palestinian
A senior official told a Washington seminar on the Middle East that
Ms Rice was personally committed to advancing the peace process and
would go to the region in early February.
David Satterfield, deputy assistant secretary of state, said recent
developments were heartening, but he was sharply critical of Syria,
saying President Bashir Assad had an “apparent deafness” to the
dialogue of the last two years with the US. He said Syria had not
done enough to tighten security over the border with Iraq, and had
done nothing about curbing what he called Palestinian terrorist
groups and Hizbollah.
“And I fear in Lebanon things have actually gone backward. The Syrian
grip has been tightened, not loosened,” Mr Satterfield told the US
Institute of Peace.
He urged Mahmoud Abbas, the newly elected Palestinian president, to
continue reforms of government institutions and assert authority over
armed groups to stop attacks on Israel. He was also critical of
Israel, saying the US was “deeply concerned” over the route of the
security barrier under construction in the Jerusalem area.
In Davos, former US President Bill Clinton urged Israel to pull out
of Gaza “as soon as possible” and warned of the dangers of not moving
swiftly to final status talks once the withdrawal was complete. Mr
Clinton said the gradualism of the past Oslo process would no longer
work. If the international community simply returned to the road map
and made no serious push for peace the Palestinians would become even
The former president, who failed to secure a peace accord during his
time in office despite strong personal commitment, said ordinary
Palestinians “keep getting shafted”. (© Copyright The Financial Times
Ltd 2005. 01/27/05)
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