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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)Source: http://news.ft.com/cms/s/64e11f8e-709d-11d9-b572-00000e2511c8.html FT} FINANCIAL TIMES FT} FINANCIAL TIMES Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
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 territories.

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 more desperate.

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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