|Meeting Between Deputy FM Massalha and Foreign Policy Adviser of US Presidential Candidate Bush|
(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
Deputy Foreign Minister Nawaf Massalha met today for lunch with Ms. Condoleeza Rice, the foreign policy adviser of the Republican candidate for the US presidency, George W. Bush.
During the luncheon, they discussed various issues including the Middle East peace process, the problems of the Arab sector in Israel, and the electoral platform of the Republican candidate for president.
In response to the Deputy Foreign Minister’s question about whether the change of presidents in the United States would affect US Middle East peace policy, Ms. Rice said that Governor Bush wishes the Clinton Administration success in achieving a comprehensive Middle East peace agreement, and that he would be delighted if President Clinton were to achieve such an agreement prior to his departure from the White House. Rice added that irrespective of the US election results, every president elected will continue to give strong support for the peace process, and every president will want to contribute his own part to the peace process "puzzle". "Israel is unique, it is varied in its religious and cultural fabric, and it will always occupy an important place in the hearts of the American people", added Rice.
Deputy Foreign Minister Massalha, who provided his guest with a comprehensive review of the peace process and its difficulties, said during the meeting that he is optimistic regarding the achievement of a peace agreement with the Palestinians within two months, prior to the change in American administration. Massalha said, "Time is running short, but momentum was created at Camp David, and I believe that Arafat will not miss the historic opportunity which has come about."
At the end of the meeting, Massalha conveyed his wishes for success to Ms. Rice, while emphasizing that this did not constitute political support for one side or another.