Cablegate: Guidance: Middle East Briefing, July 22

Published: Mon 21 Jul 2008 07:10 PM
DE RUEHC #8243 2031915
O 211910Z JUL 08
E.O. 12958: N/A
1. (U) This is an action message. USUN is authorized to
draw from the points in para 2 below during the Middle
East Briefing scheduled for July 22.
2. (U) Begin points:
-- I thank Under-Secretary Pascoe for today's briefing on
the situation in the Middle East. I would like to make
four points with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian peace
process and then turn to the situation in Lebanon.
-- First, achieving a peaceful, two-state solution to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a key priority. We
remain committed to achieving a peace agreement before the
end of the year. President Bush and Secretary Rice's
intense personal engagement on this issue demonstrates
their commitment to fulfilling the promise of Annapolis.
-- While the ongoing bilateral talks remain confidential
at the parties' request, they are serious, substantive
negotiations that are addressing the core issues.
-- The Quartet is playing a key role in supporting the
parties' efforts through coordinated, international
engagement. When it meets again in September at the
General Assembly, the Quartet will consider the timing
and agenda of a meeting in Moscow to lend support to the
process launched in Annapolis, after further consultations
with the parties. We welcome our European partners'
strong support for this process, as reiterated at the
recent Union of the Mediterranean summit, and look forward
to constructive cooperation through the Quartet to support
the parties in their dialogue.
-- Separately, Israel and Syria are continuing their
indirect peace talks under the auspices of Turkey. We
hope these talks will be a forum to raise the breadth of
Syria's activities of concern, including its support for
terrorist groups and its facilitation of foreign fighters
entering Iraq. The United States will continue to focus
on the Israeli-Palestinian track.
-- Second, Palestinian capacity building is key to the
success of this process. The Palestinian Authority is in
dire straits financially, with a projected budget deficit
of over $500 million in 2008. The U.S. has delivered on
much of our $555 million pledge made in Paris last
December, including $150 million in direct budgetary
assistance. We urge others, particularly governments
in the region, to increase their commitments.
-- We are working hard to support the parties' efforts to
improve security for Palestinians and Israelis, and
improve humanitarian conditions for the Palestinians.
U.S.-trained Palestinian police have deployed to Jenin in
coordination with Israeli authorities, and are working to
uphold law and order and crack down on terrorism. We
applaud their efforts in difficult circumstances to
restore order and confiscate illicit weapons.
-- Third, we remain committed to a Palestinian state in
the West Bank and Gaza. We will not abandon the people
of Gaza.
-- We condemn the efforts by Hamas and other groups to
usurp violently the lawful authority of the Palestinian
government in Gaza. Hamas can be part of a peaceful
process only by accepting the principles outlined by the
Quartet: renunciation of violence and terror, recognition
of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements between
the parties, including the Roadmap.
-- Finally, we reiterate our deep concern at continuing
Israeli settlement activity, and call on Israel to freeze
settlement activity, and dismantle outposts erected since
March 2001, consistent with its Roadmap obligations.
Settlement activity is having a negative effect on
the atmosphere for negotiations and has the potential
to harm them going
-- Turning to Lebanon, the United States views full
implementation of resolutions 1559 and 1701 and the Doha
Agreement as essential to safeguard Lebanon's independence
and security, and notes the Secretary-General's recent
report on the implementation of resolution 1701.
-- We welcome the recent formation of a National Unity
Government and have stated our determination to continue
to work with Lebanese authorities to strengthen
its state institutions.
-- We also welcome the recent announcement in Paris
that Syria and Lebanon have agreed to exchange diplomatic
missions. Full normalization of relations must include
the delineation of the Lebanese-Syrian border, and we call
on the Secretary-General to engage with Syria and Lebanon
to encourage immediate progress on this issue.
-- We strongly support the Lebanese Armed Forces and
Internal Security Forces in their efforts to restore
calm. Events in Lebanon in early May demonstrated yet
again the serious threat posed by armed groups outside the
control of the State. As provided in resolution 1701
there must be no weapons in Lebanon other than those of
the state. The international community must stand with
Lebanon's legitimate government in insisting on the
authority of the state and on the illegitimacy of
militias, such as Hizballah, that undermine that authority
in defiance of this Council.
-- We remain concerned also at persistent reports of
breaches of the arms embargo along the Lebanon-Syria
border, and note the Secretary-General's observation that
full implementation of the arms embargo is an
indispensable provision of resolution 1701 that must be
observed immediately, comprehensively and without
exception. Regional parties, such as Iran and Syria,
maintaining ties with Hizballah and other illegal
militias in Lebanon are obliged to respect and abide
fully by the arms embargo on Lebanon.
-- We welcome the Secretary General's intention to
strengthen the diplomatic process aimed at dealing with
the issue of the Sheba'a Farms, and urge him to engage
directly with Israel, Lebanon and Syria on this issue. We
also strongly support the work of UNIIIC and look forward
to the establishment of a Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
End points.
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