WASHINGTON – United States President George W. Bush is planning to tell Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that that his country will not recognize any government which will not officially recognize the State of Israel, honor past agreements, and renounce violence and terrorism.
National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley told reporters on Air Force One on Monday that this is the "USD 64,000 question." Bush will meet Abbas on Wednesday at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, where the American delegation is staying for the UN General Assembly meetings.
Hadley said in preparation of the meeting, that the American policy is very clear: The US supports the moderate voices, and President Abbas is one of them. This is why President Bush will meet with him, he explained, adding that the big question is if Hamas will renounce violence, accept Israel's existence, and honor past agreements.
Earlier Monday, the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice promised Foreign Ministry Tzipi Livni Monday that the United States will raise the issue of the Israeli kidnapped soldiers' release in every meeting held this week in the framework of the United Nations General Assembly.
Rice and Livni convened in New York, and are each set to meet separately with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later in the day. Livni will also meet with the Egyptian foreign minister, while American President George W. Bush is scheduled to meet Abbas on Wednesday.
Israel's Ambassador to Washington Danny Ayalon and Ambassador to the UN Danny Gillerman both attended Livni's meeting with Rice, who was accompanied by Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns and senior aid Philip Zelikow.
In the meeting Livni asked that the subject of the kidnapped soldiers be raised in each of the American secretary of state's meetings, and Rice reassured her she will promote the matter. Rice also reiterated the US' stance, which calls for an unconditional release of the troops, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, in accordance with UN Resolution 1701, as well as for the freeing of Gilad Shalit.
The two also discussed the option that the Arab League will put forth a proposal for a presidential declaration during the UN Security Council session on Thursday, in a bid to present an Egyptian-Jordanian initiative for a resolution to the regional conflict.
The initiative, which calls for the setting of fixed borders between Israel and the Palestinians before negotiations are resumed, fails to mention the Road Map peace plan and includes a demand to the UN secretary-general to report any progress in talks between the two sides.
The US is working to prevent a discussion on the issue, and will ask that it be revised in the case it is presented before the Security Council.
During the meeting, Rice stressed that the American policy regarding Iran and its policy on the Palestinian issue were in no way linked. She said that if the Security Council convenes, the requisites set by the Quartet for the Palestinians will not be changed.