Rice, Sharon discuss impasse (YNetNew.Com - Yedioth Internet) Ronny Sofer 11/14/05)
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Secretary of state in Israel for Rabin commemoration ceremonies;
meeting with prime minister centers on diplomatic process with
Palestinians, but recent talks regarding Gaza crossings end with no
concrete results; secretary of state says Syrian officials may be
interrogated by U.N. investigators on Jordanian or Egyptian soil
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice met Monday morning ahead of the scheduled Rabin Memorial Day
events around the country.
The meeting centered on the stalled diplomatic process with the
Palestinians, and Rice mentioned the possibility that Syrian
officials may be interrogated by U.N. investigators on Jordanian or
Egyptian soil regarding their role in the Hariri murder.
Sharon reiterated Israel’s position on Hamas’ participation in the
upcoming Palestinian elections, saying it would “be a big mistake
that would only weaken Abbas.” However, he added that Israel would
not interfere in the elections but would prevent Hamas from
holding “political gatherings.”
Rice said in response that it would be easier disarm Hamas following
the elections with the help of the international community.
“This was the situation in Northern Ireland and Angola,” she said.
Rice said that in any case the U.S. would not hold talks with Hamas
and Islamic Jihad even if the groups’ representatives would take
“We will not accept a situation whereby terror organizations will
remain armed and be a part of the Palestinian governing body,” she
As to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s harsh statement
regarding the annihilation of Israel, Rice said, “Each time he opens
his mouth it sounds more and more scandalous.”
During her visit Rice expected to bring an end to the dispute on the
Gaza border crossings, but recent deliberations on the matter have
Senior Bush administration officials, as well as Vice Premier Shimon
Peres, contend that as long as this issue is not resolved, Israel’s
statements regarding the end of the country’s control over Gaza
Israel continues to insist on strict security measures at the
crossings, while the Palestinians aim to remove any signs of Israeli
sovereignty. Sunday’s meeting between Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz
and Palestinian Minister Mohammed Dahlan ended with no concrete
The two ministers discussed Israel´s demand that cameras be placed at
the Rafah crossing. While Mofaz insisted such cameras are installed,
Dahlan maintained they would constitute a breach of Palestinian
Birthday present for Rice
Quartet Envoy James Wolfensohn and his staff are considering leaving
the region due to the failure of the current round of talks with
Israel and the Palestinians.
“They are willing to give a chance to one final round of talks, but
it is clear to all sides involved that in the current reality the
deliberations on the implementation of the Road Map for peace
initiative have reached a dead end,” an Israeli official told Ynet.
As of now, a diplomatic breakthrough does not seem probable in the
near future: Sharon has to deal with inner-Likud issues, namely his
ongoing battle with Benjamin Netanyahu, while Palestinian Authority
Chairman Mahmoud Abbas faces Hamas’ rising political power.
“In the current situation, in which both sides are unwilling to
compromise, we may see advancement in the peace process only next
spring, following the general elections in Israel,” an Israeli
Earlier Rice met with Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom. Shalom
congratulated Rice on her birthday and presented her with a pair of
earrings as a birthday present.
´Gave his life for peace´
During Sunday’s Saban Institute convention Rice said, “Now, if
Palestinians fight terrorism and lawless violence and advance
democratic reforms - and if Israel takes no actions that prejudge a
final settlement and works to improve the daily lives of the
Palestinian people - the possibility of peace is both hopeful and
realistic. Greater freedom of movement is a key for Palestinians,
from shopkeepers to farmers to restaurant owners and for all seeking
early easier access to their economic livelihood.
“And let us be very clear about one other matter: Dismantling the
infrastructure of terrorism is essential for peace because in the
final analysis, no democratic government can tolerate armed parties
with one foot in the realm of politics and one foot in the camp of
terrorism,” she said.
Rice also addressed the 10th anniversary of Rabin’s assassination,
saying, “Yitzhak Rabin represented the pioneer spirit of the Israeli
heartland - the impatient optimism and rugged determination that
helped Israel to turn its barren soil green and to build a new home
in its native land and indeed to take up arms when it was necessary
against all who denied this nation’s right to exist.
“He was a man who was a pioneer and a warrior and a statesman and a
peacemaker. And he approached all of his callings, especially that of
peace, with tenacity, and aplomb and a gritty realism - but also with
hope and trust and an abiding idealism. After risking death so many
times in war, it was for the cause of peace that he ultimately gave
his life.” Roee Nahmias contributed to the report First Published:
11.14.05, 10:22 Latest Update: 11.14.05, 15:15 (Copyright © Yedioth
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