U.S. SENDS TWO OFFICIALS TO DAMASCUS WITH A WARNING MISSILES MUST CEASE
MARCH 3 2009
Visiting US secretary of state Hillary Clinton detached two officials from her delegation in Jerusalem for a visit to Damascus "to explore some bilateral issues." Tuesday, March 3. They are the State Department's top Middle East official, Jeffrey Feltman, and Dan Shapiro from the White House national security council.
In her meetings with Israel leaders, she pledged "everything we can to ensure Israel's security now and into the future" and repeated her warnings that rocket attacks from Gaza "must cease."
She also said she shared "Israel's concern about Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and continued financing of terrorist organizations."
There is no time to waste, said Clinton, before engaging the Palestinians and achieving a stable ceasefire in Gaza which is only possible of the rocket fire stops. It is our assessment that eventually, the inevitability of working towards a two-state solution is inescapable,” she said.
But she also assured that any possible differences of opinion on that vital issue with any Israeli government would not harm the friendly relations and "fundamental alliance" the US and Israel shared.
DEBKAfile reported earlier:
The Palestinian state envisioned by President George W. Bush will get short shrift from Israel's designated prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu when they meet in Jerusalem Tuesday.
Netanyahu has spoken of Palestinian self-government but shied away from saying he would back a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict.
He is not averse to talking to the Palestinians, but will emphasize that Iran is blocking the Palestinian and all other Middle East issues. Therefore dealing with Tehran is the overriding priority.
Netanyahu will also stress that Iran is utterly determined to attain a nuclear bomb and will not be deterred by sanctions. There is no objection to dialogue with Tehran as President Barack Obama has proposed as long as a strict time limit is set so as to draw a line on Iranian procrastination and deceit.
After her talks with President Shimon Peres, Clinton met foreign minister Tzipi Livni. She also had talks with defense minister Ehud Barak and dined with outgoing prime minister Ehud Olmert.
Wednesday she visits Ramallah for talks with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas and prime minister Salam Fayyad.
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