Rice Meeting With Top Sharon Official (AP) By BARRY SCHWEID WASHINGTON 01/31/05 3:06 PM)
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WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday that
there cannot be peace in the Middle East unless the Palestinians gain
a state that satisfies their aspirations.
Israel also must
recognize that the Palestinian state, which she said
was "within our grasp," must be viable and contiguous - meaning with
enough land to function well.
Due in Israel and the West Bank
for talks next Monday, Rice
telegraphed her message in a conversation with State Department
"I donīt think any of us doubt that without a
Palestinian state that
is viable, that can meet the aspirations of the Palestinian people,
that there really isnīt going to be a peace for either the
Palestinian people or the Israelis," she said.
Rice also called
on Arab states to stop incitement to violence, but
her emphasis was on Israel having to yield territory and "creating
conditions in which a new Palestinian state could
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has volunteered to
give up Gaza
and a few Jewish settlements on the West Bank, but otherwise he has
not indicated how much additional land he would turn over to a
Her remarks in a State Department auditorium
preceded a meeting with
Sharonīs chief of staff for an assessment of prospects for
peacemaking with the Palestinians.
The unannounced meeting with
Dov Weisglass was designed to bring Rice
up to date on the prospects of Sharon holding talks with Palestinian
leader Mahmoud Abbas and on chances of a cease-fire.
Ambassador Daniel Ayalon said Weisglass was emphasizing "the
importance of broadening security cooperation so that it will lead to
more cooperation for disengagement" in Gaza.
Rice is planning to
see Abbas on the West Bank. She has pledged to
play a personal role in Mideast diplomacy, and her talks with Israeli
and Palestinian leaders in the area will be her first effort to
insert the Bush administration in a process in which the two sides
seem to be making progress on their own.
Rice intends to stop in
Israel on a trip to Europe that begins on
Her predecessor, Colin Powell, taking his cues from
played a limited personal role after deciding Yasser Arafat was an
inept and corrupt leader and involved in attacks on
Arafatīs death and the election of Abbas have opened
perceive as an opportunity for negotiations on an overall
Initially, the Bush administration is trying to get
Israel and the
Palestinians to comply with a road map that technically has been
accepted. However, the two sides have been slow to implement all
On the Israeli side this includes the dismantling of
all outposts on
the West Bank. An open question is whether the administration will
try to restrict further Israeli construction at settlements.
Jerusalem, Jewish settlers and their supporters protested outside
parliament for a second day. They oppose Sharonīs plan to remove all
Israelis and all troops from Gaza and to turn it over to the
Palestinians as a first step toward statehood. (Copyright 2005
Associated Press. 01/31/05)
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