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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - Annapolis Meeting

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 005369

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR I/RF, PA/PR/FPC/W, IIP/G/EA, EAP/PD, R/MR,
EAP/J, EAP/P, PM;
USTR FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
TREASURY FOR OASIA/IMI;
SECDEF FOR OASD/PA;
CP BUTLER OKINAWA FOR AREA FIELD OFFICE;
PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO JA
SUBJECT: TOKYO MEDIA REACTION - ANNAPOLIS MEETING


LEAD STORIES: Most Thursday morning papers gave top
coverage to the arrest on Wednesday of a former senior
Defense Ministry official on suspicion of taking bribes
from an arrested former defense trading firm executive.

1. "Implementation of Agreement Not in Sight" The
liberal Asahi's report from Annapolis said (11/29):
"President Bush announced during the Annapolis meeting
on Wednesday an agreement of 'common understanding'
between the Israelis and Palestinians to end their
conflict and establish a Palestinian state by the end
of 2008. The parties plan to hold their first working-
group meeting on December 12 and to review progress
every two weeks. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov
expressed his nation's readiness on Wednesday to host
the next round of the peace talks. Implementation,
however, will be difficult, as both the Israelis and
Palestinians have their own domestic problems."

2. "U.S. Should Be Responsible for Mediation" The
liberal Mainichi editorialized (11/29): "The Middle
East peace conference held in the U.S. adopted a joint
statement on the resumption of the talks between the
Israelis and Palestinians. It is encouraging that
President Bush, who hosted the meeting, clearly stated
that he will do whatever he can to help the
negotiations reach a conclusion by the end of 2008. We
hope the President will fulfill this responsibility and
positively continue his efforts to mediate between the
two parties."

3. "Road to Middle East Peace Not in Sight" The
moderate-conservative Yomiuri filed a correspondent
report from Annapolis (11/29) arguing: "Although the
Middle East peace conference that opened in Annapolis
on Tuesday has paved the way for the resumption of
peace negotiations between the Israelis and
Palestinians for the first time in seven years, the
conference, which only set a general goal of reaching
an agreement by the end of 2008, was a 'political
stage' for President Bush to display his contributions
to Middle East peace before his term ends. It
represents progress that Arab nations that have no
diplomatic relations with Israel took part in the
conference. The road to the establishment of a
Palestinian state, however, is not in sight, as no
change can be seen in the Bush administration's pro-
Israel position."

4. "President Bush Seeks Results" The liberal Tokyo
Shimbun's Washington correspondent wrote (11/29):
"President Bush appears to be trying to use the issue
of Middle East peace to gain some sort of diplomatic
achievement before his term expires. Some observers
view the Annapolis meeting as a replay of President
Clinton's failed gamble in 2000. It is said that
Secretary of State Rice urged the President, who has

SIPDIS
done little on Middle East peace since taking office,
to initiate the meeting.... The Bush administration has
few tangible diplomatic achievements to show for the
past seven years. Secretary Rice appears to have
decided to take a chance and pursue Middle East peace,
something that proved elusive for previous U.S.
administrations."


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