Herb Keinon, THE JERUSALEM POST Jan. 16, 2007
US ambassador to Israel Richard Jones told the Jerusalem Post in an exclusive interview on Tuesday, that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "picked up" Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's ideas about a need to provide a "political horizon" during her recent visit here.
Jones said it was important to give both sides "an idea of what we're talking about, what we are getting into."
Rice is expected back in the region within a month for trilateral discussions with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Jones stressed that these would not be "negotiations," but rather "discussions" of all the major issues that would have to be dealt with during the final stages of implementing the road map.
Last month, Livni came out with the idea of holding talks with the Palestinians about a future state, before implementation of the first stage of the road map. The idea behind this was to give the Palestinians an incentive to implement the first steps of the road map in order to reach these goals.
Jones also said he had no knowledge of any tract to agreement worked out between Israeli, Syrian and US non-governmental officials. He said, however, that the US position regarding Syria is that it should not be rewarded for its intransigent behavior. Jones said that the Israeli government was "not chomping at the bit" to advance negotiations with the Syrians, but, he added, the US was not standing in Jerusalem's way.
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