Secretary Cohen Headlines CALME Press Conference

CALME Co-Chairs Joel Tauber and George Salem, along with Secretary William Cohen, Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn and Ambassador Skip Gnehm, hosted a press conference Monday morning advocating American commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The full press release:

Washington, DC – In his State of the Union address tomorrow, President Bush should announce that the United States will lead an active and sustained effort to bring about two states in 2007, prominent American leaders said today.

The Campaign for American Leadership in the Middle East (CALME) today commended President Bush for his longstanding commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and asked that he work to make his vision reality as soon as possible.  CALME recently sent a letter to the President that was signed by thousands of Americans from all 50 states that called on him to sustain and strengthen American leadership in pursuing efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  CALME was launched in 2005 to enlist American public support for an active and sustained U.S. diplomatic pursuit of a negotiated two-state resolution. 

CALME Co-Chair Joel Tauber, a member of the United Jewish Committees Board of Trustees, said at a press conference Monday, “We hope the President will announce in his State of the Union Address tomorrow that reinvigorating international efforts to secure Israeli-Palestinian peace is a central goal of American foreign policy. Our letter demonstrates the American public’s support for his determination to actively pursue peace between the two peoples.  I believe it is in U.S., Israeli, and Palestinian interests to achieve a viable settlement as soon as possible.”

CALME Co-Chair George Salem, Chairman of the Arab American Institute, added, “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the prism through which the Arab and Muslim world views the United States.  It is in our national interest to push the parties toward agreement on a two-state, permanent status agreement as soon as possible.  This will strengthen the moderates in the region who are working toward a more stable Middle East.” 

Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, who has just returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Oman, commented, “Virtually every official with whom I met on this trip and previous ones emphasized the urgency of the U.S. becoming reengaged in efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.  I am delighted that Secretary Rice will convene a meeting soon with Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas to explore ideas for the creation of a Palestinian state.  Momentum is building. We must seize this opening.”

CALME is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, uniquely American initiative that actively promotes resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a two-state solution.  Over 275 bipartisan and diverse American political, business, military, academic, philanthropic and religious leaders have joined thousands of Americans in all 50 states to support Administration and Congressional efforts to achieve a lasting Israeli-Palestinian settlement.  CALME’s list of American leaders includes former Secretaries of Defense William S. Cohen and William Perry; former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, Warren Christopher, and Lawrence Eagleburger; Arab American Institute Chairman George Salem and American Task Force for Palestine President Dr. Ziad Al-Asali; Rabbi Eric Yoffie; and former Middle East peace negotiators Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, and Robert Malley.  CALME is the first American initiative to reach this magnitude of widespread and diverse support for a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  More information about CALME can be found at www.mideastcalm.org.

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