Cablegate: Middle East - Unsc Instructions for March 25


DE RUEHC #0350 0841844
O 241838Z MAR 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Mission is instructed to draw from the points in
paragraph 2 below in discussing events in the Middle East
during the consultations to be held Tuesday morning, March
25 in the UN Security Council.

2. (U) Begin points:

The United States continues to work to support progress
towards an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement before the
end of 2008. Vice President Cheney and Secretary Rice
each visited the region earlier this month to encourage
progress in negotiations and on the ground. Secretary
Rice will return to the region later this week to continue
her discussions with the parties.

When we last met, violence was escalating in Gaza and
southern Israel. Subsequently, on March 6, a terrorist
gunman opened fire at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in
Jerusalem, killing eight young Israeli students and
wounding eleven others. We strongly condemn this vicious
attack against innocent civilians. In the wake of this
tragedy, the Government of Israel courageously reaffirmed
its commitment to negotiations. Israeli and Palestinian
leaders continue to meet to work towards the shared goal
of a permanent status agreement, and firm regional and
international support remains crucial.

With that in mind, I'd like to make six points.

First is the need to achieve progress on the ground in
order to create an atmosphere supportive of the
negotiating process and to reassure Israelis and
Palestinians alike of the seriousness of this process.
General Fraser, who leads the U.S. effort to monitor
progress on Roadmap implementation, has just returned from
the region where he convened a trilateral meeting with the
parties to assess progress and discuss next steps to
fulfill the parties' commitments under the Roadmap. The
General had a frank and positive exchange with the parties
and is working with them to promote progress in this area.

Secretary Rice will use her next round of meetings with

Israeli and Palestinian leaders later this week to further
encourage progress.

Second is the critical importance of support from the
international community to ensure that Palestinian
humanitarian needs are being met and that nations are
following through on their pledges from the Paris Donor
Conference. These efforts will help President Abbas and
PM Fayyad build the institutional capacity and develop the
economy that will serve as the foundation for a
Palestinian state. For our part, the United States
continues to provide basic humanitarian assistance to
Palestinians living in Gaza via ongoing USAID programs and
annual contributions to the UN Relief and Works Agency for
Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The U.S. is
the largest bilateral donor to UNRWA. In FY 2007, we
contributed over $154 million to UNRWA and we have, to
date, pledged $148 million in 2008. Our contributions to
UNRWA support its provision of basic and vocational
education, primary health care, and relief and social
services to over 4.4 million registered Palestinian
refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and
Syria, as well as its provision of emergency food, health,
jobs creation, and other relief services to Palestinian
refugees in the West Bank and Gaza.

We are also moving forward with assistance programs
utilizing the $545 million pledge for assistance to the PA
that Secretary Rice announced in Paris last December.
Most recently, on March 19, we signed a cash transfer
agreement with PM Fayyad, providing $150 million in
budgetary support to the Palestinian Authority. Much more
is needed and we encourage Paris Conference participants
to urgently provide the assistance they have pledged. We
look forward to reviewing progress in this area at the
upcoming meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee. We
welcome Tony Blair's continuing leadership role in this
area, including his involvement in planning the May 21-23
Bethlehem Private Sector Investment Conference. We also
support Germany's proposed meeting later this spring to
focus donor support on building the capacity of the
Palestinian justice sector.

Third, turning to Lebanon, in addition to noting the
pro-active engagement of the international community, I
would also like to thank the Secretariat for the efforts
underway to rapidly facilitate the work of the Special
Tribunal. The United States welcomed the Secretary
General's announcement on February 13 regarding full
funding for the start-up costs and first year of
operations of the Tribunal. The United States has already
pledged $14 million to the Tribunal and expects to
contribute more over the course of its lifetime. I urge
all Council members to generously support the Tribunal as
a clear signal that the international community backs the
effort of the Lebanese people an end the era of impunity
for political assassinations in their country. We look
forward to hearing more about the Tribunal during the
discussion scheduled for Thursday.

Fourth, the U.S. remains deeply concerned about illegal
arms transfers across the Syrian-Lebanese border, and in
particular claims by Hizballah that it has replenished its
military capacity since the 2006 war. We fully support
the Secretary General's call for a process to disarm all
militias in Lebanon in accordance with resolution 1559 and
the Ta'if Accords. In accordance with resolutions of this
Council, Hizballah must disarm, and it must do so now.

Fifth, the United States deplores Hizballah's continual
refusal to provide any information about the two abducted
Israeli soldiers, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. We are
appalled that Hizballah is placing conditions for their
release that are outside the scope of 1701. We reiterate
our call on Hizballah to immediately and unconditionally
release them.

Finally, I would like to reiterate our concern that it has
not yet been possible for the Lebanese to hold a
presidential election. Although the Lebanese agree on a
candidate, Syria and its allies within Lebanon are using
other preconditions to perpetuate the political stalemate.
However, until a new president takes office, the United
States has full confidence in, and fully supports, the
legitimate Lebanese Government in managing the affairs of
the state and the Lebanese Armed Forces in continuing to
provide security.

© Scoop Media

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