Bush and Rice Pushing for "Shelf" Agreement

[Washington Institute for Near East Policy] David Makovsky - The Middle East peace conference in Annapolis marked the first time the U.S. did not mandate a purely sequential approach to the peace process. Instead, Washington now wants issues to be solved in parallel, with the implementation of past obligations occurring simultaneously with final agreement on the core issues of Jerusalem, refugees, and security. Secretary Rice believes that if the core issues were resolved, the Palestinians and Israelis would be motivated to fulfill their earlier obligations. Bush's statements during his visit focused on the final-status issues, with less emphasis on Palestinian institution-building and terrorism. "Just saying two states really doesn't have much bearing until borders are defined, right of return issues are resolved, Jerusalem is understood, and common security measures are in place," he said in Ramallah. But Bush also endorsed the Israeli view that even if these issues were resolved in 2008, a final agreement would "be subject to implementation of the Roadmap." As such, the actual Palestinian state would not exist until the Palestinians improve their security and institutional performance - something that is called a "shelf" agreement.

2008-01-17 01:00:00

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