Exclusive: Olmert comes out of White House talks empty-handed

The meeting between the Israeli prime minister and president George W. Bush lasted less than an hour. Ending Wednesday, June 4 without the usual joint communique, it was more a farewell between two leaders on their way out than a down-to-earth exchange. Olmert told reporters euphemistically after it was over: “I went in with more question marks than I came out with regarding ways and means, the pressures of time and the resolve required to deal with the [Iranian nuclear] problem.”
debkafile‘s Washington sources report that the prime minister was informed ahead of his visit that the White House is expecting fresh intelligence on Iran’s nuclear activities and will await evaluations from US experts before making decisions on how to act in the matter. Our sources discount the impression conveyed by the prime minister’s office that he would present the president with Israel’s findings and conclusions. These exchanges are in fact taking place at quite a different level between American and Israeli intelligence chiefs.
It was clear to both the president and the prime minister that Bush’s hopes of an Israel-Palestinian peace accord being concluded before he leaves the White House would be disappointed.
In any case, Palestinian leaders are fuming over the Democratic candidate Barack Obama’s statement of support for Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal, undivided capital. Their high expectations of US pressure on Israel for major concessions in peace talks have been set back; all three presidential candidates are pursuing the Jewish vote with ringing support for Israel.
John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will talk to Olmert by telephone before he leaves. All three were too caught up in their climactic contest to find time to meet him.

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