Cablegate: Guidance: Middle East Briefing, August 20


DE RUEHC #9450 2331422
O 201416Z AUG 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

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 August 20.

2. (U) Begin points:

-- I thank Under-Secretary Pascoe for today's briefing on
the situation in the Middle East. I would like to make
four points with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian peace
process and then turn to the situation in Lebanon.

-- First, the ongoing bilateral Israeli-Palestinian talks
are sincere, substantive negotiations that are addressing
the core issues. They remain confidential at the parties'

-- We remain committed to achieving a peace agreement.
President Bush and Secretary Rice's intense personal
engagement on this issue demonstrates their commitment to
achieving a peaceful, two-state solution to the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict as quickly as possible.

-- Separately, Israel and Syria are continuing their
indirect peace talks under the auspices of Turkey. While
the United States will continue to focus on the Israeli-
Palestinian track, we support efforts to bring peace and
stability to the region. Such a goal cannot be achieved,
however, without addressing the breadth of Syria's
activities of concern, including its support for terrorist
groups, its facilitation of foreign fighters entering
Iraq, and shipment of weapons across its border into

-- Second, Palestinian capacity building is key to the
success of this process. Supporting Salam Fayyad's
Palestinian Reform and Development Plan remains a top
priority of the U.S. Government and the international

-- The Palestinian Authority is in dire straits
financially and urgently needs additional international
support. Total U.S. assistance provided in 2008 surpasses
our pledged level of $555 million, including $264 million
in project assistance, $150 million in direct budget
support, and $187.4 million in contributions to the United
States Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in
the Near East (UNRWA). Recently, the U.S. Congress
approved an additional $150 million in direct budgetary
assistance for FY09 and $50 million in project assistance.
We commend the assistance provided to the PA by our
European partners. We also recognize Saudi Arabia, the
United Arab Emirates, Algeria, and Kuwait for their
support of the PA and continue to urge regional
governments to provide additional support to the PA and
fulfill all outstanding commitments, including pledges of
budget support made at the 2002 Arab League summit in

-- We are also working hard to support the parties'
efforts to improve security for Palestinians and Israelis.
A meeting on August 12 between Palestinian and Israeli
security chiefs at Palestinian security headquarters in
Jenin was yet another step forward towards improving
Israeli-Palestinian cooperation which will help U.S.-
trained Palestinian security forces to assume their
responsibilities to uphold law and order and crack down on

-- Third, we remain committed to a Palestinian state in
the West Bank and Gaza. We will never abandon the people
of Gaza, and urge all parties to adhere to the period of
calm that began on June 19 as a result of Egypt's efforts.

-- We condemn the violent efforts by Hamas and other
groups to usurp the lawful authority of the Palestinian
government in Gaza. In a further sign of the lawlessness
in Gaza -- in sharp contrast to the improving situation in
the West Bank -- a terrorist group there last week gave
media tours of its "rocket factory," bragging that its new
munitions would be able to strike at civilian targets even
deeper within Israel. This would appear to represent a
clear violation of the truce and is a development that
must be reversed. The Quartet's principles remain
determinative: renunciation of violence and terror,
recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous
agreements between the parties.

-- Finally, we reiterate our deep concern at continuing
Israeli settlement activity, and call on Israel to freeze
this activity and dismantle outposts erected since March
2001, consistent with its Roadmap obligations. Settlement
activity is having a negative effect on the atmosphere for
negotiations and has the potential to harm them going

-- Turning to Lebanon, the United States views full
implementation of resolutions 1559, 1680 and 1701, as well
as fulfillment of the pledges made in the Doha Agreement,
as essential to safeguard Lebanon's sovereignty and
security, and welcomes the Secretary-General's recent
report on the implementation of resolution 1701.

-- We welcome the August 14 announcement in Damascus that
Syria and Lebanon will establish full diplomatic relations
with the exchange of missions at the ambassadorial level.
This is a very good first step. We have long stood for
the full normalization of relations between Syria and
Lebanon on the basis of equality and respect for Lebanese
sovereignty. Full normalization of relations must also
include other measures aimed at ending Syria's continuing
interference in Lebanon, including the delineation of the
Lebanese-Syrian border, and we call on the Secretary-
General to engage with Syria and Lebanon to encourage
immediate progress on this issue.

-- We remain concerned, however, at persistent reports of
breaches of the arms embargo along the Lebanon-Syria
border, and note the Secretary-General's observation that
full implementation of the arms embargo is an
indispensable provision of resolution 1701 that must be
observed immediately, comprehensively, and without
exception. Regional parties, especially Iran and Syria,
maintaining ties with Hizballah and other groups in
Lebanon are obliged to respect and abide fully by the arms
embargo on Lebanon.

-- I wish to convey again our condolences for the victims
of the deplorable terrorist attack in Tripoli that claimed
15 lives, including nine Lebanese soldiers, on August 13.
We strongly support the Lebanese Armed Forces and Internal
Security Forces in their courageous efforts to restore
calm. As provided in resolution 1701, there must be no
weapons in Lebanon other than those of the state. The
international community must stand with Lebanon's
government in insisting on the authority of the state and
on the illegitimacy of all other armed groups, including
Hizballah, that undermine the government's authority and
the resolutions of this Council. For Lebanon, this
remains the core issue for the Council with respect to its
responsibility to safeguard international peace and

-- We welcome the Secretary General's intention to
strengthen the diplomatic process aimed at dealing with
the issue of the Sheba'a Farms, and urge him to engage
directly with Israel, Lebanon, and Syria on this issue,
including via a technical mission that would visit the
three countries to discuss the cartographers report and
next steps in detail, and report back to the Council. We
also strongly support the work of UNIIIC and look forward
to the establishment of a Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

End points.


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