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Cablegate: Guidance: Middle East Briefing, December 18

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UNCLAS STATE 132244

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: UNSC PREL LE IS SY
SUBJECT: GUIDANCE: MIDDLE EAST BRIEFING, DECEMBER 18

1. (SBU) This is an action message. USUN is authorized to
draw from points in para 2 below during the Middle East
Briefing scheduled for December 18.

2. (U) Talking points.

-- I would like to thank Under Secretary-General Pascoe
for his briefing on the situation in the Middle East.
Today I would like to make two main points.

-- First, we welcome the passage of UN Security Council
Resolution 1850. It is a positive and forward-looking
document that has put the Security Council and the
international community on record confirming the
irreversibility of the bilateral negotiations towards a
lasting peace through confidential, uninterrupted and
continuous negotiations for a two-state solution, born at
Annapolis.

-- The parties have and continue to make their best
efforts to achieve an agreement. They have reported
progress in their negotiations and in the work that is
being done on the ground, building the institutions of the
Palestinian state, and implementing their Roadmap
obligations.

-- This is the first time in almost a decade Palestinians
and Israelis are addressing all the issues in a
comprehensive way to try to obtain a solution. Israel and
the Palestinians have expressed common aspirations. We
are much further along than we were in 2007 when the
Annapolis Conference was held, and indeed much further
than we were in 2001.

-- Based on this progress, at their historic November 9
briefing for the Quartet, the parties requested the
continued support of the international community including
respect for the mutually-agreed principles of their
bilateral dialogue and the confidential nature of the
negotiations, and that third parties should not intervene
in the negotiations absent the joint request of both
parties. In Resolution 1850 they have a tangible
reflection of that commitment.

-- President Bush has called for negotiations
to be intensified in order to put an end to the conflict
and to establish as soon as possible a democratic state of
Palestine, living side by side in peace and security with
Israel.

-- The second point I would like to underscore today is
our continuing concern for the welfare of the innocent
people of Gaza and in the towns and cities of southern
Israel.

-- As the Quartet made clear at its meeting this week, a
lasting solution to the situation in Gaza can only be
achieved through peaceful means. Restoring Palestinian
unity based on the commitments of the Palestinian
Liberation Organization -- the legitimate and
internationally-recognized representative of the
Palestinian people -- to non-violence, recognition of
Israel, and acceptance of previous commitments and
obligations is central to this process.

-- The Quartet expressed its concern that the
Egyptian-brokered calm in Gaza had been challenged;
condemned the indiscriminate attacks against Israel; and
called for an immediate cessation of violence, including
attacks against commercial crossings that prevent the
import of humanitarian supplies and basic commodities,
without which the people of Gaza will continue to suffer.

-- As the largest single-state contributor of aid to the
Palestinian people, the United States is deeply committed
to seeing through the delivery of humanitarian aid. The
U.S. calls for the continuous provision of humanitarian
supplies to the people of Gaza.

-- 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,
launching more than 200 rocket and mortar attacks in the
past two months against Israel and humanitarian aid
crossing points into Gaza. The U.S. calls for an
immediate and permanent end to these attacks, which
represent an ongoing threat to international peace and
security, and for the full dismantlement of the
infrastructure of terrorism according to agreed Roadmap
obligations.

-- Continuing progress in Jenin and the successful
deployment of the Palestinian security services to Hebron
are strong counter-examples to the violence in Gaza.
These developments demonstrate that Israelis and
Palestinians can work together to advance the cause of
peace.
-- Finally, just a short word on Lebanon. Full
implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1559 and
1701 is vital to a peaceful and secure Lebanon. As with
the establishment of a Special Tribunal under UN Security
Council resolution 1757 to try those responsible for the
assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq
Hariri and others, the United States strongly supports the
full implementation of these resolutions. We also urge
that adequate funds be provided for the opening of the
Special Tribunal on March 1, 2009.

-- The Secretary General's latest reports on Resolutions
1559 and 1701 clearly express the importance of Hizballah
disarmament and of ending arms smuggling across the


Lebanese-Syrian border. As the national dialogue in
Lebanon progresses, we look forward to continued efforts
to implement these core elements of the resolutions.

End talking points.
RICE

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