The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Military

Rice Urges Continued Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue

11 June 2007

Also seeks greater international pressure against Iranian nuclear activities

Washington -- While leaving the door open for Israel to engage in peace discussions with Syria if it chooses to do so, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said any such contacts would not be a substitute for Israel’s ongoing talks with the Palestinians, adding that a two-state solution to the conflict would offer Palestinians a better future than that presented by extremists.

Speaking June 8 to the Associated Press Editorial Board in New York, Rice said she hopes the second round of direct talks between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will take place “relatively soon,” but expressed doubt that talks between Israel and Syria are forthcoming.

“I've said all along if Israel believes that there is a track to pursue peace with Syria then that's fine.  Now my understanding is that the behavior of the Syrian government has suggested to people that that option or that opening isn't there at this point in time,” Rice said.

The secretary encouraged Israel and the Palestinians to work together on releasing Palestinian tax revenues held by Israel, describing it as an issue that can be resolved through bilateral talks. 

“I understand the Israelis' concerns about what might happen to tax revenue, but we think that there are mechanisms that they could use in the ways that they have in the recent past to support important activities … among the Palestinians,” she said.

In comments to the New York Daily News Editorial Board, Rice said the two sides need to re-establish confidence lost after the second Palestinian intifada began in 2000 that the future Palestinian state will be “both viable for the Palestinians and a source of security, not risk, for the Israelis.”

She told the NBC News Editorial Board that now, six years since the second intifada began, “you have the great bulk of both Palestinians and Israelis believing in a two-state solution.” (See related article.)

Turning to Iran, Rice told the Associated Press Editorial Board she wants to see the international community increase the pressure on Tehran for continuing its nuclear activities in defiance of the United Nations, saying the world should “confront Iran with a clear choice between continuing down this road and the kind of isolation that the international community can actually bring to bear.”

If Iran suspends its uranium enrichment, Rice said, there are “plenty of possible ways to get to a civil nuclear program that makes sense for Iran, that would come with a lot of other benefits of trade and political relations.” That scenario, she added, would be “the best outcome” to the current crisis.

If Iran wants to begin “a different kind of relationship with the United States and therefore the international community as a whole,” she said there is “a very clear path” to do so.

However, Rice told the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board that plans to establish a missile defense system in Europe are designed to address a potential Iranian ballistic missile threat.

Iranian attainment of nuclear weapons will cause other countries in the region to acquire them, she said.  “[M]y view is you plan for any emerging capability, but it doesn't mean that you accept that you can allow it to happen,” she said. (See related article.)

Transcripts of Rice’s interviews with the editorial boards of Associated Press, New York Daily News, NBC, and the Wall Street Journal are available on the State Department Web site.

For more information on U.S. policies, see The Middle East: A Vision for the Future and  Limiting Nuclear Weapons.

(USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list