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Cablegate: Israeli Defmin Discusses Peace Process, Iran

VZCZCXRO9337
PP RUEHIK
DE RUEHVI #1588 3511453
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171453Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY VIENNA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3907
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 0832

UNCLAS VIENNA 001588

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/CE AND NEA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ENRG MNUC MOPS IS IR AU
SUBJECT: ISRAELI DEFMIN DISCUSSES PEACE PROCESS, IRAN
DURING VIENNA VISIT

1. (U) Israeli Defense Minister and Deputy PM Barak met with
Chancellor Faymann, President Fischer, DefMin Darabos, and FM
Spindelegger during a low-key December 14-15 visit to Vienna.
During a joint press conference after their meeting, Barak
and Darabos emphasized their support for a two-state solution
to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They also stressed the
strong bilateral relationship between their two countries,
though Barak noted that the relationship had experienced "ups
and downs," an apparent reference to tensions arising from
the election of Kurt Waldheim as Austrian President in 1986
and the 1999 Austrian parliamentary elections that led to a
government including the far-right Freedom Party.
Spindelegger also called for a two-state solution after his
meeting with Barak, adding that lack of progress in the peace
process was "creating hopelessness and playing into the hands
of extremists." Spindelegger urged Israel to cease
settlement construction and called on the Palestinians to
unify and refrain from violence against Israel.

2. (U) Wolfgang Lapuh, MFA Middle East Deputy Director, told
us on December 17 that Spindelegger asked Barak what Austria
could do to help revive the peace process. Barak replied
that Austria, working through the EU, should encourage the
Palestinians to return to the table for discussions. He also
recommended that the EU encourage President Abbas to remain
in office. Spindelegger asked about press reports suggesting
that the Palestinians might unilaterally declare a state.
Barak noted that the media had misrepresented the
Palestinians' statements, but said that the Labor Party,
which he leads, would have no problem with such a
declaration. He suggested that a unilateral declaration
would help clarify the parties to a two-state solution.

3. (U) Barak also told Spindelegger that Israel has
information indicating that Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei
might be willing to announce a two-month moratorium on
uranium enrichment, Lapuh said.

4. (SBU) Barak also attended a December 14 event at which the
World Jewish Congress (WJC) awarded the Nahum Goldmann Medal
to Vienna Mayor Michael Haupl. WJC President Ronald Lauder
said in a statement that Haupl was chosen for his efforts in
reviving Jewish life in Vienna, including his support for the
Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial and the construction of Jewish
schools and other institutions, as well as his denunciations
of anti-Semitism. (Note: The event received minimal press
coverage. It appears that Haupl, facing election in 2010,
did not want to call too much attention to the award. He
likely determined that it would not be to his advantage to be
associated with a Jewish organization, particularly the WJC,
which many Austrians resent for its criticism of Austria
during the Waldheim affair.)
EACHO

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