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Cablegate: Abu Mazen Calls for Active Eu Role in Peace

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: On a two-day official visit to Italy, Abu
Mazen underlined PA commitment to the Roadmap and called
for a vigorous EU role in the peace process. He said
Palestinians had chosen the path of democracy and called
on Israel to remove all obstacles to the conduct of
elections, including in Jerusalem. Italian leaders
reiterated their support for the peace process and Prime
Minister Berlusconi renewed his offer to host Israeli-
Palestinian negotiations at Erice, a picturesque Sicilian
seaside town. End summary.

2. During his December 2-3 visit to Rome, PA President
Mahmoud Abbas reiterated to his Italian interlocutors
that he and the PA consider political negotiations with
Israel to be the only way to reach a peace. He
underscored the PA's total commitment to follow the
Roadmap and invited the EU to take a more active role in
the peace process and become a third party to it. "We
want the EU to have a political role, along with its
economic role. Fortunately this role, which for us is
very important, has already started. The agreement on
the Rafah Crossing was reached also with the EU's
commitment." (Note: Italian Carabinieri General Pietro
Pistolese is heading the EU's Rafah mission. End note.)

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3. Abbas said he was determined to extend PA control
over the entire Palestinian territory and guarantee
public order, which he called an absolute priority. He
said he was equally determined to move forward with
democratic reform, because "rebuilding trust is the main
path toward peace in the Middle East." On several
occasions, he pointed to what he termed the major effort
he and Israeli PM Ariel Sharon were putting into the
peace process, remarking that the motivations driving
both were sincere. He said a lot can be done toward
achieving peace if the people of Israel follow their

4. Abbas used his public remarks in Rome to underscore
that the PA had chosen the path of democracy -- a
democracy in which all must participate. He did not
publicly mention Hamas (nor did any of his Italian
interlocutors). The PA President stressed that
Palestinians residing in Jerusalem must be allowed to
vote. Calling on Israel to remove all obstacles to the
conduct of elections, he warned that if the PA failed to
conduct the elections successfully, Israel would have
responsibility for blocking the Palestinian democratic

5. Abbas was well received by all his Italian
interlocutors. Both President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and
PM Silvio Berlusconi gave assurances of Italy's continued
support of the Palestinian goal of an independent state
living in peace with Israel, within secure, certain, and
recognized boundaries. Berlusconi once again proposed
the southern Italian city of Erice as a venue for a
possible international peace conference or for Israeli-
Palestinian talks (Abbas accepted). And Ciampi and
Berlusconi underscored the importance of the Roadmap to
peace. On Jerusalem, Ciampi called for a solution that
would not jeopardize its status as a "city dear to all
cultures and religions." Abbas remarked that it should
remain "open to all the faithful" and that its
administration should answer to the "fundamental needs of
the Jewish and Palestinian people."


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