Ambassador Wolf Meets Palestinian Israel officials
U.S. Ambassador Wolf Meets with Palestinian, Israeli Officials
(White House Report: Mideast, Iran, Saudi Arabia)
Ambassador John Wolf, in charge of the U.S. coordination and monitoring mission for the Middle East roadmap, is in the Middle East and has already had a series of meetings with Palestinian and Israeli officials, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer told reporters June 17.
"The ambassador is in contact with Israeli officials; he's in contact with Palestinian officials," Fleischer said. "And there are a series of talks that are under way in the Middle East. There are talks between Palestinians and the Palestinians -- different entities within the Palestinian community -- including the terrorist organization Hamas."
In addition, Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice met June 16 with Dov Weisglass, the chief of staff to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Fleischer said.
The reason for Wolf's trip to the Middle East and the Powell and Rice meeting with Weisglass is that President Bush wants to reiterate his message "about the need for the parties to adhere to the roadmap to follow the vision toward peace," the Press Secretary said.
"There's a lot of work under way behind the scenes in these meetings that I just described, trying to help achieve the return of the peace process laid out in the roadmap," Fleischer said.
He added that there is a "new moment of opportunity" for peace in the Middle East with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and Security Minister Mohammed Dahlan in charge of fighting terror, Fleischer said.
"And the president does believe in the statements that he received from Prime Minister Abbas about his dedication to finding a peaceful solution and to fighting terror," Fleischer said.
"And, very importantly, the Arab nations are also participating in helping Prime Minister Abbas and Minister Dahlan to be successful in their fight against the terrorist elements."
BUSH ADMINISTRATION "ALARMED" BY IRAN'S ACTIONS AGAINST PROTESTORS
Asked about ongoing student protests in Iran, Fleischer said the Bush administration is "alarmed about the reports of the arrests and the provocations that the Iranian regime has taken against the protestors."
Fleischer said President Bush's "definitive statement of policy of the United States approach to Iran" can be found in his July 12th statement where he declared American support for reformist efforts in Iran.
"The protestors are expressing their peaceful voices; they're expressing their yearning to have a government that is representative, and a government that is tolerant," Fleischer said. "We believe in the voices of these Iranians, and we hope the day will come when the Iranians have a government that allows reform to take place."
FLEISCHER SAYS SAUDI ARABIA IS "A GOOD ALLY"
Responding to a reporter's question about alleged Saudi Arabian support of terrorist groups, Fleischer said Saudi Arabia "is a good ally of the United States in the war against terror."
"And certainly Saudi Arabia, even before,
but especially since, the bombing in Riyadh has stepped up
its activities to fight terror," Fleischer said.