Livni. Optimistic
Photo: Daniel Bar-On
Bush and Rice. No change in stance
Photo: AFP
Annapolis. The train's engine

Entire world accepts Israeli stance, says Livni

Foreign minister to leave for US on Saturday evening ahead of Annapolis peace conference; tells Ynet summit's success is fact that it will jumpstart move in which State of Israel's security is inseparable part of agreement

The Israeli stance that the Annapolis conference is the beginning of a diplomatic process for the establishment of two states for two people is now accepted by the entire world, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told Ynet on Thursday, on the eve of her departure to the US-sponsored peace summit scheduled to take place in Maryland next week.


"This was not a simple process, but as we approach the Annapolis conference, our perception that the conference is not aimed at ending the process has been absorbed and is now accepted by everyone," Livni said.


According to the foreign minister, "Problems dozens of years old cannot be solved within a few days. This is a developing process which is now reaching the right lines, as far as Israel is concerned.


"The question now is not what Israel will give the Palestinians. The question now is which Arab countries will join the train whose engine is Annapolis."


Livni will leave to Washington on Saturday evening on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plane. She will meet with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in order to coordinate expectations and stances, and on Monday will receive an unusual gesture and will take part in Olmert's meeting with US President George W. Bush.


The foreign minister believes that "the Annapolis conference's success is in the international, Arab and Palestinian understanding that this is a conference jumpstarting a process rather than ending it.


"I see great success in the fact that Annapolis will jumpstart a move in which the security of the State of Israel is an inseparable part. Moreover, our success is in the fact that the condition of the implementation of the process is the implementation of the Road Map (peace plan)."


Livni has been holding a series of phone calls with Arab leaders over the past few days, including leaders of countries with which Israel has no diplomatic relations, in a bid to stress the need that they attend the summit in order to advance the jumpstarting of the peace process with the Palestinians.


She also stressed the need to form a moderate axis in the face of the Iranian nuclear threat.


"A picture of peace-supporting countries is better than another picture of Palestinian women being stopped at a checkpoint, or pictures like those of Mohammed al-Dura," the foreign minister told the Arab leaders.


Livni believes that "the fact that this conference is being held, with 40 countries supporting it including Arab states, is a success."


'Everyone heading to Annapolis'

Israeli officials have said that they had a good feeling about the completion of a joint Israeli-Palestinian statement. Most of the drafts have already been completed, although the statement is no longer crucial for the conference's execution.


The officials welcomed the fact that the statement being drafted by both sides will not deal with the core issues. However, in light of past experience, Israel is aware of the fact that a joint statement will not be reached.


"In any event," said senior officials involved in the negotiations, "Everyone is headed to Annapolis and waiting for the Arab world, to see who will arrive and who won't. Israel has proved that its intentions are serious."


Israel does not expect any surprises in Bush's speech at the conference or last-minute pressure on the part of Rice. According to all signs, the US president and his foreign minister did not change their stance, which supports the eradication of terror ahead of Annapolis.


There are also no signs that Bush plans to go back on his 2003 letter to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon or on the Road Map plan.


Senior diplomatic officials estimate that the Americans will back the Israeli perception, as it has been presented over the past month and a half in which Livni has been heading the negotiations.


פרסום ראשון: 11.23.07, 01:05
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