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Cablegate: Guidance: Middle East Briefing, November 25

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UNCLAS STATE 124016

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: UNSC PREL LE IS SY
SUBJECT: GUIDANCE: MIDDLE EAST BRIEFING, NOVEMBER 25

REF: A. IO/UNP:EGOLDRICH
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C. USUN-W:HHENDERSON
D. NEA/ELA:CLAWSON
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1. (U) This is an action message. USUN is authorized to draw
from points in para 2 below during the Middle East Briefing
scheduled for November 25.

2. (U) Talking points.

-- I would like to thank Under Secretary-General Pascoe for
his briefing on the situation in the Middle East. There are
two major points that share equal importance for the
Council,s consideration today.

-- First, we should take note of the positive and forward-
looking nature of the November 9 briefing by the Palestinian
and Israeli negotiators for the Quartet in Sharm el Sheikh.
The parties are to be commended for their clear affirmation
of their commitment to the process launched at Annapolis and
to ongoing, bilateral negotiations that address all the core
issues. The framework for negotiating a final resolution of
the conflict is before us: determined, professional talks
between the parties; consistent yet constructive
international engagement; and a vigorous effort to improve
conditions on the ground. The distance to peace has narrowed
even if an agreement has not yet been reached.

-- Israel and the Palestinians have expressed common
aspirations. They have underscored their commitment to
reaching a comprehensive agreement on all issues, without
exception, as agreed at Annapolis. They have pledged to
continue their bilateral and, confidential negotiations until
this goal is achieved, even during times of political
transition. They have attested the negotiating structure is
effective and productive and they intend to keep it in place.

-- Based on this, the parties requested the continued support
of the international community, including respect for the
mutually-agreed principles of their bilateral dialogue and
for the confidential nature of the negotiations, and that
third parties should not intervene in the negotiations absent
the joint request of both parties. Taking into account the
substantial nature of the negotiations and the potential for
further progress, we remain committed to the irreversibility
of the negotiations.

-- We urge our international partners, particularly those in
the region, to demonstrate their commitment to peace by
providing political and economic assistance to the legitimate
Palestinian government, which has taken significant steps to
reform its security services and increase accountability and
transparency within its governing institutions.

-- As a member of the Quartet, the UN also has an important
role to play. It must take an even-handed approach,
encouraging both parties to take the necessary steps to make
progress. The UN cannot be seen to favor one side over the
other.

-- Secondly, and of similar importance for Council members,
is our mutual concern for the welfare of the innocent people
of Gaza and in the towns and cities of southern Israel. As
the largest single-state contributor of aid to the
Palestinian people, the United States is committed to seeing
humanitarian aid get through.

-- The U.S. calls for an immediate halt in rocket attacks
against civilian communities in Israel, and attacks against
commercial crossings that are preventing the import of
crucial humanitarian supplies and basic commodities, without
which the people of Gaza will continue to suffer.

-- We urge an end to violence and for the Government of
Israel to allow fuel, humanitarian shipments, and
humanitarian aid workers entry into Gaza as expeditiously as
possible.

-- Egyptian efforts to promote calm in Gaza and southern
Israel are laudable, and we continue to urge both sides to
adhere to their commitments in this regard. At the same
time, it is critical the international community upholds the
Quartet principles -- renunciation of violence, recognition
of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements between the
parties. Respect for PLO commitments are also critical in
this regard.

-- The Council should not lose sight of the root cause for
the current situation. While the vast majority of the people
of Gaza simply want to get on with their lives, Hamas and
other groups continue to instigate violence by their
surreptitious construction of tunnels from Gaza into Israeli
territory of the type used before to kidnap and kill Israeli
soldiers, their indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel, and
their attacks on established humanitarian aid crossing
points. It should not come as a surprise that this increase
in disruptive terrorist violence comes at a time when the
peace negotiators have reaffirmed their commitment in the
face of adversity. This is a pattern the Council has seen
time and again as terrorists seek to instigate a crisis to
derail efforts for peace.

-- I wish to touch briefly on two other matters. First, we
have seen in recent days two extraordinary gestures by
Israeli and Palestinian leaders that should not go
un-remarked. During the recent General Assembly session on a
&Culture of Peace8 Israeli President Peres made a special
point to reach out directly to Saudi King Abdullah, signaling
Israeli openness to elements of the Arab Peace initiative of
2002. Then last week, the Palestinian Authority took out
advertisements in the Israeli press calling directly on the
Israeli people to embrace that same Arab Peace Initiative.
These steps are consistent with an expansion of diplomatic
efforts toward comprehensive peace in the region. We
applaud and encourage creative, determined efforts of this
nature, which have succeeded in building peace in the past
and can do so again.

-- Finally, just a short word on Lebanon, which we normally
discuss in the context of these briefings but will take up
this afternoon in a full discussion of the Secretary
General,s report on UN Security Council resolution 1701.
For now, let me say only that we strongly support the
report,s clear expression of the importance of Hizballah
disarmament, as the Secretary General also recently
highlighted in his report on UNSCR 1559.

End talking points.
RICE

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