debkafile: Rice notifies Israeli leaders of reduced remit for Middle East conference at Annapolis
The US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice informed prime minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem Sunday, Nov. 4, that the US will not submit its own proposals to the coming Middle East peace conference at Annapolis. Olmert had already known for a week that President George W. Bush had come down against her broad conception of the event, as DEBKA-Net-Weekly 324 first revealed on Nov. 1. (Annapolis Devalued)
The emissary the White House chose to deliver the presidential decision to the Israelis and the Palestinians last week was Stephen Hadley, head of the National Security Council, DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s Washington sources report, who carried Bush’s decisions to shrink the content, format and expectations of the coming international peace conference:
1. No working papers or American bridging proposals would be presented before or during the Annapolis conference on core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, i.e. borders, Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and the war on terror.
2. Washington had no intention of imposing solutions or formulae either on Israel or the Palestinians.
3. The two sides must negotiate on their own without preset deadlines.
4. The Americans would be there to assist them both in the course of conference debates, but would not be an active participant.
These decisions mean that the Bush administration is pulling in its horns over the peace conference in support of Olmert’s narrow approach and in diametric opposition to Rice’s much bigger perception of the event as the starting-point for intensive and substantive Israel-Palestinian negotiations towards the establishment of a Palestinian state within a given timeline.
Affirming that the Israelis and Palestinians had not reached agreement on any issues at dispute between them, Palestinian Authority Chairman, whom Rice meets in Ramallah Monday, said that his delegation would bring its own proposals to Annapolis.
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