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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

US - We aren't stopping Israel-Syria negotiations

If the US is not preventing Israel-Syria negotiations, then who is? It is certainly worthwhile testing the truth of this public statement. As for the Arab peace initiative, since it includes the demand for right of return for refugees, and since Saudis made it clear that the initiative cannot be altered, it looks like a non-starter.

Last update - 09:30 14/03/2007   

U.S. ambassador: We won't stop Israel talking to Syria
By Akiva Eldar, Haaretz Correspondent

The United States is not preventing Israel from holding negotiations with Syria and the decision on whether to proceed on this matter is in the hands of the Israeli government, according to U.S. Ambassador Richard Jones speaking to a group of academics at the Davis Institute for International Affairs at the Hebrew University on Monday.
The U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv refused to comment on the ambassador's statements, saying that the meeting was a closed forum. However, the deputy press attache at the embassy, Geoff Anisman, said Tuesday, "we are unaware that any U.S. official has ever expressed an opinion on what Israel should or should not do with regard to Syria."
Ambassador Jones, who participates in the meetings of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her visits to Israel, told the crowd of academics that in all the meetings in which he took part there was never a demand that Israel avoid contacts with Syria.
Jones said he does not consider Syria a partner in the diplomatic process so long as it supports terrorist organizations and aids Hezbollah. He added that the Syrians have not done enough to lift doubts that they are interested in negotiations solely as a means of receiving international legitimacy.
"If the Syrians change the situation," the ambassador said, "the situation will also change."
During the meeting at the Davis Institute, Ambassador Jones also discussed the Arab peace initiative that is expected to be approved at the Arab League summit in Riyadh, scheduled to take place late this month.
According to the American diplomat this is an attempt to develop a regional link to the peace process, which presents Israel with a broad diplomatic horizon, and goes beyond a settlement with the Palestinians.

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