testo completo in italiano
08 September 2003
U.S. Prepared to Work with Palestinian PM to Advance Road Map, September 8, 2003
(State's Boucher says U.S. will keep pressure on both parties for peace)
State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher said the United States is hoping a new Palestinian prime minister will have adequate commitment, authority and resources to move forward on the Middle East road map for peace.
Speaking in Washington at the September 8 State Department media briefing, Boucher said it was up to the Palestinian people through their representatives in the Palestinian Legislative Council to choose the next prime minister. However, he added that the United States hopes that whoever is chosen will be given "the political power and the control of the security forces and of the finances of the Palestinian Authority to stop terrorist organizations."
"It's not about personalities or our supporting individuals," said Boucher. "We're prepared to work with a Palestinian prime minister who can move forward on the road map. "
Boucher said the United States intends to work with the Palestinians as they build a democratic governing process and institutions to support a Palestinian state. "And so, we want to treat them as best we can in their governing process; let them make the decisions, and make clear that we're prepared to work with them if they're prepared to take their responsibility."
Boucher said that the U.S. consul general in Jerusalem met September 8 with Ahmed Qureia, who was nominated for prime minister in place of Mahmoud Abbas who resigned September 6.
Boucher said the United States had helped to support Abbas by providing $20 million of direct assistance to the Palestinian Authority, inviting him to meet with President Bush at the White House, and helping to bring about the handovers of security responsibility in Gaza and Bethlehem from Israel to the Palestinians.
"[W]e will continue to pressure both sides and we want to see both parties move forward on the road map," said Boucher. "The juncture that we've come to on the road map ... requires action by the Palestinians to take control of the security situation and to stop the efforts of violence groups who have tried to disrupt the process and kill innocent people."
Following is an excerpt from the September 8 State Department briefing:
QUESTION: -- the scuttle among the Palestinians is of interest to everybody. The Secretary called the Israeli Foreign Minister, I know, but did he make any other calls? Is anybody going to the region?
MR. BOUCHER: At this point nobody going to the region, but obviously we have representatives out there who are working very hard. Ambassador Wolf has been meeting with all the parties and reporting back regularly to Washington, including the Secretary. Our Consul General Jeff Feltman has been keeping in close touch with the Palestinians, and including a meeting that he had today with Ahmed Qureia, Abu Alaa, to discuss the process. He's been following the process forward. And, of course, Ambassador Kurtzer is keeping in touch with the Israeli side.
The Secretary himself has spoken with European High Representative Solana, with Italian Foreign Minister Frattini, with French Foreign Minister de Villepin and with Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath today, as well as, well, he talked to the Argentine Foreign Minister Bielsa about other things. But, generally, these conversations have covered the UN resolution on Iraq and/or the situation in the Palestinian Authority.
The general attitude that I would express at this point is to say, first of all, it is up to the Palestinian people, through the Palestinian Legislative Council, to decide on their Prime Minister, decide on their new Prime Minister.
The Secretary said yesterday we hope that whoever is selected will be given the political power and the control of the security forces and of the finances of the Palestinian Authority to stop terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Forward movement with continued terrorist activity by Hamas and other terrorist groups is simply not possible. Hamas and such groups obliterate the hopes for peace and the possibility of two states living side by side in peace and security.
So, whoever becomes the new Palestinian Prime Minister, we are looking to see if he has the commitment, the authority and the resources to move forward on the roadmap; and at this juncture, that means principally to move forward on taking control of the security situation and acting against groups like Hamas and Palestinian Jihad.
QUESTION: I'm not sure everybody who he spoke to, or their government, were entirely in line, allied with the United States. They're more inclined to ask the U.S. to put pressure on Israel. Could you speak a moment or two about -- or three -- about what you see as Israel's obligations?
MR. BOUCHER: We think both parties have obligations under the roadmap, and our goal is to move forward with both parties under the roadmap. The Secretary, I think in his speech on Friday, said that we will continue to pressure both sides and we want to see both parties move forward on the roadmap.
The juncture that we have come to on the roadmap, however, we think requires action by the Palestinians to take control of the security situation and to stop the efforts of violence groups who have tried to disrupt the process and kill innocent people.
So we will continue to work with both sides to move forward. That has been our role, will continue to be our role. But also, to make clear when it's time for parties to take decisive actions on security, that it is time for the Palestinians to do that.
QUESTION: Richard, do you expect or are you asking that whoever assumes the new Palestinian Prime Minister position retain Mr. Dahlan as head of security services, and can you say whether this shakeup in the Palestinian Authority over the weekend has any effect on U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't -- I don't want to predict any changes in U.S. assistance. We have, as you know, under Prime Minister Abbas -- we did a lot to support him and a lot to support his effort.
We had, for the first time, $20 million of direct assistance going to the Palestinian Authority. We had the first visit by a Palestinian Prime Minister to the White House. We had the first handovers of security responsibility in Gaza and Bethlehem to the new Palestinian Government.
So we made a lot of efforts and we had some measure of success. We want to continue with that success. We want to continue moving down the road to the roadmap. We want to continue to see both parties take steps. But that's going to require that the Palestinians be able to take the steps they need to take on security -- to establish real control of security -- and that means having a prime minister with commitment, with authority, and with the resources to do that.
QUESTION: And can you say anything about Dahlan?
MR. BOUCHER: I wouldn't get into trying to choose a Palestinian cabinet. They will have to -- just as they have to choose their own Prime Minister, they have to choose their own cabinet. We'll see what --
QUESTION: But the U.S. has invested a lot of personal time. The President has mentioned his name and praised him in the past.
MR. BOUCHER: We've mentioned a lot of names when we were working with people, and I'm sure we'll mention names in the future as well, depending on who they assign to these jobs.
We intend to work with the Palestinian Authority as -- as they build institutions, as they build a democratic process. That, remember, is the bigger goal: to help the Palestinian Authority as they create the institutions that can support a Palestinian state. And so we want to treat them as best we can as -- in their governing process, let them make the decisions, and make clear that we're prepared to work with them if they're prepared to take their responsibility.
QUESTION: Richard, Abu Alaa, before he -- well, when he was nominated by Chairman Arafat said that he -- one of the precondition -- or a precondition for him to accept the job would be support from the EU and the United States. Given that Arafat has apparently just announced to the Palestinian Legislature that Abu Alaa has, in fact, accepted the nomination, and the fact that Mr. Alaa, he met with Mr. Feltman -- when was that, today?
MR. BOUCHER: Today.
QUESTION: Can we infer or assume, then, that the United States has told him that he will have your backing as long as the -- he continues moving in the same direction as --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't -- I wouldn't characterize the meeting in that way. The Consul General, Acting Consul General Feltman, is meeting with various people to keep abreast of the situation, but to make clear this overriding point we have made in public as well as in private, that the Palestinian Prime Minister needs to be able to move on security, and that that is our key interest right now, but that we do, at the same time, intend to work with both sides and continue to make sure that both sides continue movement on the roadmap.
So, no, it's not a -- it was not a pledge. It's not -- I don't have the full details of the meeting, but I generally characterize the meeting as conveying the kind of sentiments that I convey now.
QUESTION: But you are -- you do believe that he is someone that can be worked with? You don't think that he is in the same mold as Chairman Arafat?
MR. BOUCHER: We'll have to see, first of all, whether he has, as I said, the commitment, the authority and the resources to move on these questions, to move forward on the roadmap. And second of all, we'll see how the government is formed and what kind of action they take.
QUESTION: I guess the reason I'm asking is because you were pretty unabashed in your support for Prime Minister Abbas, despite the fact that he didn't have the authority from Arafat over all the security apparatus. So I'm just wondering now, you know, have you told him that the only way you can support him is that -- is if he gets control of the security apparatus and reins in Hamas and Palestinian --
MR. BOUCHER: It's not about personalities, or our supporting individuals. We're prepared to work with a Palestinian Prime Minister who can move forward on the roadmap. With Prime Minister Abbas we were able to move on the roadmap. He was exercising authority he had, and while we understood and said it was limited to some extent, we were managing to achieve some progress along those lines. But he was never -- he was not able to get real control over all the security services, and thereby get real control over the activities of terrorist groups. We think that's the juncture we're at now, and that that needs to be established.
All I can say is, we'll see how the government is formed, what kind of commitment they have, what kind of resources they're given, and what kind of actions they take.
QUESTION: So, just -- I'm sorry.
MR. BOUCHER: I do, eventually, want to get beyond the first row.
QUESTION: Sorry. You're not, at this point, conditioning America working with the new Palestinian Prime Minister on those goals that you've just stated; you're simply saying that you'd like to see the new Prime Minister, who you're willing to work with, move towards those goals?
MR. BOUCHER: I'd say that's right. We're making the same observation of what needs to be done as we made when Mr. Abbas was Prime Minister, that the task before us remains the same, the need to get control of security services and use that to get control of the terrorist organizations remains the same. And whoever takes over as Prime Minister is going to face the same set of facts. In order to move forward on the roadmap, we need to do that. And our desire is to move forward on the roadmap with both parties. Our commitment remains strong to doing that, and we will continue to work with both sides, pressure both sides, to make progress.