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Cablegate: Guidance: Middle East Briefing, May 28

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UNCLAS STATE 056306

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: UNSC PREL LE IS SY
SUBJECT: GUIDANCE: MIDDLE EAST BRIEFING, MAY 28

1. (U) This is an action message. USUN is authorized to
draw from the points in para 2 below during the Middle
East Briefing, currently scheduled for May 28.

2. (U) Begin points:

-- Mr. President, over the last two months, the United
States has been increasingly dismayed about the
unproductive and divisive tone of these briefings. Mutual
recriminations and hostile interventions do not reflect
well on the UN Security Council given the seriousness of
this subject. More importantly, the Israeli and
Palestinian people deserve better from this Council. I
hope that today's discussion can demonstrate the Council's
ability to deal in a fair and balanced way with this
issue. With that in mind, I would like to make the
following four points today with regard to the
Israeli-Palestinian peace process and then turn to the
situation in Lebanon.

-- First, achieving a peaceful, two-state solution
continues to be a top priority for the United States. The
United States remains committed to a peace agreement
before the end of the year. President Bush's recent trip
to the region reflected his continuing personal engagement
and commitment to this issue. Secretary Rice continues to
travel to the region on a monthly basis. There is a solid
negotiating structure in place and talks are moving
forward. We believe these are the most serious talks the
parties have had for some time, touching on all of the core issues.
The talks are, as one would expect, difficult, and due
to the private nature of the dialogue, progress may not be
visible, but that should not be mistaken for a lack of
progress.

-- Second, we understand the importance of achieving
progress on the ground in the form of improved economic
and humanitarian conditions for Palestinians and improved
security for Israelis. We are working hard to support the
parties' efforts in this area, both through the efforts of
General Fraser, who continues to work with the parties to
monitor and promote implementation of the Roadmap, and
through the efforts of General Dayton. Dayton's program
is in full swing, helping to train and reform the
PA Security Forces. We are looking forward to the Berlin
Conference on Palestinian Civil Security on June 24, which
we expect to expand international efforts in this crucial
area. Secretary Rice is also deeply involved in this part
of the process. She has held several trilateral meetings
with Prime Minister Fayyad and Minister of Defense Barak.
These meetings have begun to yield tangible results that
can improve conditions on the ground. Likewise, the PA
security forces have deployed to Jenin in coordination
with Israeli authorities and are working to uphold law and
order and crack down on terrorism.

-- Third, Palestinian capacity building also remains a
central issue, key to the success of this process. The Ad
Hoc Liaison Committee met in London on May 2 to maintain
donor coordination and to seek to expand donor support for
the PA. The PA remains in dire straits financially,
facing a projected budget deficit of over $500 million in
2008. The U.S. is making every effort to channel
assistance to the PA and we have already delivered on over
$218 million of our $555 million pledge in Paris last
December. We would urge others to do all that they can to
support the PA.

-- Fourth, we congratulate the Palestinians on the
success of the Bethlehem Private Investment Conference
held in Bethlehem May 21-23. The conference showcased the
potential for private sector investment there and resulted
in the conclusion of significant investment agreements on
the margins of the event. We also commend all of those
states and companies that attended and contributed to the
success of this event, as well as the Government of Israel
which took all possible steps to ensure the event's
success.

-- We will continue to work to advance each of these
tracks, and to coordinate with our partners in the
international community, principally through the Quartet
which last met in London on May 2, and which continues to
play an important role supporting the parties' efforts and
coordinating international engagement on this extremely
important issue.

-- We understand that Israel and Syria have agreed to
conduct indirect peace talks under the auspices of Turkey
and that the parties have declared an intention to proceed
in good faith and with open minds with a view to achieving
a peace agreement. It is our hope that discussions
between Israel and Syria will cover all the relevant
issues, including the Syrian Government's support for
terrorist groups, facilitation of the passage of foreign
fighters into Iraq, and intervention in Lebanon, as well
as repression inside Syria.

-- (if needed) Regarding the situation in Gaza, we
remain committed to a Palestinian state in the West Bank
and Gaza, and we will never abandon the people of Gaza.
We have encouraged Israel, the Palestinian Authority and
Egypt to work together to formulate a new approach that
will provide security to all three parties, empower the
Palestinian Authority, ensure the humanitarian needs of
Gazans are being met, and work towards conditions that
will permit implementation of the 2005 Agreement on
Movement and Access. The United States condemns the
ongoing effort by Hamas to usurp violently the lawful
authority of the Palestinian government. A Palestinian
state will never be born through terror but rather through
the commitment of responsible Palestinian leaders. The
international community must support the efforts of
responsible Palestinian leaders, like President Abbas and
Prime Minister Fayyad, who are working to build a better
life and a future of peace for the Palestinian people.
Hamas can be part of that peaceful process 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.

-- Turning to Lebanon, the United States was deeply
concerned by the Hizballah-initiated violence of the last
few weeks. The Lebanese people deserve an independent and
secure country where they are free to make decisions and
participate in the political process without fear of
violence or intimidation. The use of force to implement a
political agenda is unacceptable. Hizballah has clearly
shown its wanton disregard for the well-being of the
Lebanese people as well as the previous resolutions of
this Council.

-- The United States welcomes the election of Michel Sleiman
as president of Lebanon, which was made possible by the
agreement reached by Lebanese leaders in Doha, Qatar.
We view this agreement as a positive step towards resolving
the current crisis by electing a President, forming a new
government, and addressing Lebanon's electoral law, consistent
with the Arab League initiative. I commend those Lebanese
leaders, supported by the Arab League, who refused to meet
violence with violence. The international community must
stand with Lebanon's legitimate government in rejecting the
use of violence to achieve political ends in Lebanon, and
insisting upon the authority of the state and the illegitimacy
of militias such as Hizballah that seek to undermine that
authority in defiance of this Council.

-- The United States will continue to support the legitimate
authorities in Lebanon, including the government and its
security establishment and its complete authority over all
of Lebanese territory. We call on all Lebanese leaders to
implement this agreement in its entirety, in accordance
with the Arab League initiative and in conformity with UN
Security Council resolutions 1559, 1680, 1701, and 1757, and to
address the root causes of this ongoing conflict.

End points.
RICE

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