Rice to meet Jordan's king in Mideast peace drive

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meets Jordan's King Abdullah and holds further talks with Palestinian and Israeli officials on Monday, the third day of her Middle East trip to try and revive peacemaking.

Rice to meet Jordan's king in Mideast peace drive

 

Rice has been touring the Middle East trying to persuade Arab governments to breathe new life into a peace plan they ratified in 2002 by adding what she calls "active diplomacy" -- seen as code for early contacts with Israelis.


U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, also on a visit to the region, raised the possibility on Monday that the Israelis and Palestinians, along with officials from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, would be invited to attend the next meeting of the Quartet of Middle East mediators.


It was unclear whether such an invitation would be extended, although Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he would "not hesitate to participate" in a Quartet meeting.


Rice met separately on Sunday with Palestinians and Israelis to gauge the chances for peace talks in which both sides would initially talk to the United States rather than directly to each other. However, she said she was not striving for a "big bang" breakthrough.


She visited the West Bank city of Ramallah to talk to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before heading to dinner with Olmert in the first of what may be a series of back-and-forth talks with the two.


Making her fourth visit to the Middle East in four months, Rice is talking to them separately because Olmert has so far ruled out engaging Abbas on peace since the Fatah leader formed a Palestinian unity government with the Islamist Hamas faction.


Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians have fulfilled their commitments under a "road map" peace plan, which calls for Israel to halt settlement building in the occupied West Bank and the Palestinians to dismantle militant groups.


QUARTET CONDITIONS


Israel and the Quartet of Middle East negotiators -- the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia -- have demanded the Palestinian government recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept existing peace deals.


The new unity administration has agreed only to "respect" previous accords and has stopped short of recognizing Israel or giving up the right to armed struggle.


Rice will meet Abdullah in the Jordanian capital Amman where she was also due to see Abbas, before returning to Jerusalem for further talks with Olmert.


Earlier this month, Abdullah appealed to the United States to do more to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Analysts doubt Rice can make much progress given Olmert's political weakness  one opinion poll this month showed he would win as little as 3 percent of the vote if an election were held immediately and the divisions among the Palestinians.

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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