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Rice: Bush Approach Best to Achieve Mideast Peace

WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said
Monday that the Mideast peace process President Bush launched is
the best chance yet to end the conflict between Israel and the
Palestinians and should not be dropped just because a year-end
deadline for a deal is being missed.
Rice told The Associated Press in an interview that the
negotiations begun at the Annapolis conference last November have
produced solid results and that the U.S. expects strong support at
the United Nations this week for a U.N. Security Council resolution
that "enshrines" the initiative in the international system.
"That's a really rather simple resolution but it does put
Annapolis in that long litany now of important Security Council
resolutions supporting the peace process," she said. "The
Security Council will make clear that that is the basis going
(forward)."
The Security Council is expected on Tuesday to vote on a
U.S.-Russian sponsored resolution that calls on the Israelis and
Palestinians "to fulfill their obligations" under the Annapolis
process and for all nations and international groups "to
contribute to an atmosphere conducive to negotiations."
Rice said she believed that "a lot of the fundamentals are in
place" for the incoming Obama administration to work with to
achieve peace and noted that Israelis and Palestinians have said
they think they have accomplished more through Annapolis than they
did during the last sustained negotiations during the Clinton
administration in 2000.
Many Clinton-era Mideast advisers are part of President-elect
Obama's foreign policy transition team and there has been concern
that they may want to try their own approach to Mideast
peacemaking.
Rice declined to discuss her specific recommendations to Obama's
advisers, including Secretary of State-designee Hillary Rodham
Clinton, but made clear that she believed Annapolis should not be
abandoned as the two sides have made "significant progress on the
core issues."
"I just think that the Annapolis process, because it is both
bottom-up and topdown, is the most likely chance that we have to
bring about the two-state solution that the president has talked so
much about," she said.
The Security Council has not since 2003 passed a resolution on
the Middle East that calls for a collective peace by insisting on a
two-nation solution for the Israelis and the Palestinians.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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