Cablegate: Guidance: Middle East Briefing, June 26
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O 261731Z JUN 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0000
UNCLAS STATE 068825
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TAGS: UNSC PREL LE IS SY
SUBJECT: GUIDANCE: MIDDLE EAST BRIEFING, JUNE 26
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 June 26. Please see septel
for further guidance in the event an Arab Group draft
resolution is tabled.
2. (U) Begin points:
-- I would like to thank Under-Secretary Pascoe for
Today's briefing on the situation in the Middle East. I
would like to make five points with regard to the Israeli-
Palestinian peace process and then turn to the situation
-- First, achieving a peaceful, two-state solution to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a paramount priority and
we remain committed to achieving a peace agreement before
the end of the year. Secretary Rice's monthly trips to
the region reflects her personal commitment to this issue.
-- We believe the ongoing bilateral talks are the most
serious the parties have had for some time, touching on
all of the core issues. The talks are difficult, as one
would expect, and due to their private nature progress may
not be visible, but that should not be mistaken for a lack
-- The Quartet, which just met in Berlin on June 24,
continues to play a key role supporting the parties'
efforts and coordinating international engagement. When
it meets again in September at the General Assembly, it
will consider the timing and agenda of an international
meeting in Moscow to lend support to the process launched
-- Separately, Israel and Syria are conducting indirect
peace talks under the auspices of Turkey. We hope that
these talkw will be a forum to raise the breadth of
Syria's activities of concern, such as its support for
terrorist groups and its facilitation of foreign fighters
entering Iraq. We will continue to focus on the Israeli-
-- Second, Palestinian capacity building is key to the
success of this process. The Palestinian Authority
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 them. We
have already delivered on much of our $555 million pledge
made in Paris last December, including $150 million in
direct budgetary assistance. We would urge others,
especially regional partners, to increase their efforts to
support the PA.
-- Third, we are working hard to support the parties'
efforts to improve security for both Palestinians and
Israelis, and economic and humanitarian conditions for the
Palestinians. Secretary Rice is deeply involved in this
process. On June 16, she held another trilateral meeting
with Prime Minister Fayyad and Minister of Defense Barak.
These meetings have begun to yield tangible results.
-- Israel's removal of some significant West Bank
checkpoints, the opening of a number of Palestinian police
stations in Area B and issuance of work permits to
Palestinians represent positive steps. Similarly, 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.
-- A just-concluded conference in Berlin has focused
renewed international attention on the Palestinian police
and justice sector and resulted in pledges to disburse
$242 million in these areas and the Quartet has called for
speedy implementation of these projects. We congratulate
the German government on the success of this conference.
-- Fourth, we remain committed to a Palestinian state in
the West Bank and Gaza. We will never abandon the people
of Gaza. We support continuing Egyptian efforts to
restore calm to Gaza and southern Israel and welcomed the
period of calm that began on June 19.
-- We deplore the rocket and mortar attacks of June 24th
from Gaza into southern Israel that shattered that calm,
and join with Prime Minister Fayyad in condemning these
-- We condemn ongoing effort by Hamas and other groups to
usurp violently the lawful authority of the Palestinian
government in Gaza. 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.
-- We welcome the European Union's offer to resume its
monitoring mission at the Rafah crossing, and we support
steady and sufficient supplies of fuel to Gaza and the
immediate resumption of UN and other donor projects there.
-- Fifth, we reiterate our deep concern at continuing
Israeli settlement activity, and call on Israel to stop
all such activity, and dismantle outposts erected since
March 2001. Secretary Rice reaffirmed this position most
recently in her visit to Jerusalem on June 16. This
obligation is clearly stated in the Roadmap, along with
security and other obligations incumbent on the
Palestinians and other parties.
(IF NEEDED IF LIBYA TABLES A UNSCR): The best way to
address adherence by both sides to Roadmap obligations,
including Palestinian obligations to dismantle the
terrorist infrastructure and Israeli obligations to halt
settlement activity, is through bilateral negotiations.
We do not believe Security Council action will help move
the bilateral negotiations forward - rather, it could
harden positions on both sides and make it harder to reach
compromise. The Quartet, significantly, did not call for
Security Council action in its meeting only two days ago.
-- Turning to Lebanon, the United States views full
implementation of the Doha Agreement and UN Security
Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701 as essential to
safeguard Lebanon's independence and security and allow
its people to participate in the political process without
fear. We call on all parties to support Prime Minister
Siniora's efforts to establish a National Unity Government
as soon as possible.
-- We are deeply concerned by recent acts of violence in
Tripoli and other parts of Lebanon. We call upon the
opposition, in particular, to refrain from the use of
violence to promote its ends, as stipulated in the Doha
Agreement. We also call on outside parties, especially
Syria and Iran, to cease arming illegal militias in
-- At the same time, we strongly support efforts of the
Lebanese Armed Forces and Internal Security Forces to
restore calm. The international community must stand with
Lebanon's legitimate government in insisting on the
authority of the state and the illegitimacy of militias
such as Hizballah that seek to undermine that authority in
defiance of this Council.
-- As Secretary Rice stated on her recent visit to Beirut,
full implementation of all aspects of UN Security Council
Resolution 1701 is a key priority for the United States,
and we look forward to the Secretary General's upcoming
report on this matter. Progress on Sheba'a Farms, the
full delineation of Lebanon's border with Syria,
compliance with the arms embargo, disarmament of armed
militias and the other provisions -- as well as those of
Council resolutions 1559, 1680, and 1757 -- deserve the
strong support the UN and international community. We
strongly support the work of UNIIIC and look forward to
the establishment of a Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
3. (U) Septel provides points for like-minded Council
members in seeking to delay consideration of the Arab
Group draft, and additional elements for inclusion in that
draft if delay is not possible.