In an in-depth interview with the Council on Foreign Relations, CALME luminary Martin Indyk provided some insight into how Secretary Rice’s recent trilateral summit did mark a significant change for this Administration’s involvement in the pursuit of two states.
He said, “These talks are qualitatively different from anything that she or the Bush administration has done before. And that’s for two reasons. One is that she has committed herself to a discussion between Abu Mazen and Olmert about the framework for a final status agreement, or what she calls a ‘political horizon.’ And what Rice is doing is discussing—not negotiating—what a future Palestinian state would look like. Now, that is different from anything the Bush administration has done in its previous six years in office because they absolutely refused to have any ‘political horizon’ in any of the things that they’ve produced. So, for instance, the ‘Road Map’ talks about a two-state solution as a final objective but gives no details about what that final agreement would look like. This is an attempt by her to give greater granularity to the president’s vision of an independent, democratic Palestinian state living alongside Israel.
“The second thing is that she has committed to a sustained engagement. One of the things she said at the end of her remarks on Sunday was that ‘I will be back shortly.’ And she has said elsewhere that she’s going to be coming back once a month. That’s qualitatively different because the Bush administration has never had a sustained engagement in peacemaking on the Israeli-Palestinian front. They talked a good game but always walked away from any kind of sustained engagement. ”
To read the full interview, please click here.