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Sec. Rice Meeting With Salam Fayyad, Ehud Barak

Press Statement
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 30, 2008

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's Trilateral Meeting With Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Defense Minister Ehud Barak

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's Trilateral Meeting With Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Defense Minister Ehud Barak

The process launched at Annapolis includes several components--including the realization of President Bush's vision of two states living side by side in peace and security, and implementation of Phase I obligations of the Road Map to improve the quality of life and the security of ordinary people on both sides.

Today Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Defense Minister Ehud Barak agreed on concrete steps to implement the Roadmap. This is a program that will improve the daily lives of Palestinians and help make Israel secure.

Lieutenant General William Fraser and others will continue their involvement in this effort to help the two sides implement their obligations. Secretary Rice was pleased to be able to join in those efforts today.

Prime Minister Fayyad and Defense Minister Barak agreed on points of special, immediate emphasis and work:

* Israel has pledged to reduce the impediments to access and movement in the West Bank. This will begin with the removal of about 50 roadblocks and immediate steps to upgrade checkpoints to reduce waiting time without sacrificing security.

* Both sides also agreed that the Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank should assume greater responsibility. Prime Minister Fayyad and Defense Minister Barak agreed to begin by bringing new life and hope to Jenin.

- For its part, the Palestinian Authority will deploy security forces to provide law and order, and work to prevent terror.

- For its part, Israel will take steps to ease access and movement to the city and its surrounding environs.

- The United States and others in the international community will fund projects and in an integrated governance and development effort help the Palestinian Authority develop institutions for governance and rule of law.

* The two sides will improve security coordination, so that Palestinian Authority security personnel can perform their vital duties and are equipped properly.

* Prime Minister Fayyad and Minister Barak also agreed on steps to promote economic development, especially projects, in the West Bank more generally.

- Both sides are committed to success of the Bethlehem investment conference and special arrangements will be made so that international visitors may attend.

- Both sides have agreed to create a major new industrial park in Tarqumiya sponsored by Turkey.

- The parties have completed connection of 27 Palestinian villages in the West Bank to the Israeli power grid and, in an unprecedented action, have connected Jericho to the Jordan power grid.

- The two sides approved in concept the development of new housing in the West Bank for Palestinians.

- Master Plans for 25 Palestinian villages in Area C have been approved.

- Israel offered to expand significantly opportunities for Palestinian workers and businessmen to travel to Israel from the West Bank.

All of these steps can provide meaningful improvements in the lives of ordinary Palestinian and Israeli citizens, if they are successfully implemented. As implementation is a key to success, Lieutenant General Fraser will be following closely each side's efforts to implement the agreed upon steps. Secretary Rice is confident that both Prime Minister Fayyad and Defense Minister Barak are committed to implementing these steps. They have also agreed to continue their meetings.

2008/237
Released on March 30, 2008

ENDS

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