Archive for the ‘negotiations’ Category

Israel Keeps Gaza Goals Vague

December 29, 2008

Israel has dropped tons of bombs on the Gaza Strip in an unprecedented show of force to make Hamas stop rocket attacks, but it has not said it will try to topple the Islamic militants who have ruled the territory for 18 months.

Such a limited definition of goals gives Israel considerable flexibility in deciding when to end the assault, especially if international pressure mounts, while still calling it a success. But this guarded approach also offers Hamas good survival odds, even if the onslaught leaves it badly weakened.

Israel’s unwillingness to reoccupy Gaza or openly try to install a new ruler there gives Hamas considerable leverage in future cease-fire negotiations.

By KARIN LAUB, Associated Press Writer

In exchange for calm on Israel’s border, Hamas demands an end to the crippling blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt after the Hamas takeover of Gaza 18 months ago. Hamas, which won 2006 parliamentary elections, seized control after a power-sharing agreement with the rival Fatah movement collapsed in violence.

Ending the blockade could help Hamas recover quickly and prolong its rule indefinitely. That, in turn, would all but destroy prospects of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Israel has been negotiating for the past year with Hamas’ rival, moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who controls the West Bank. However, Israel says it cannot implement an agreement as long as the Iranian-backed Hamas, sworn to Israel’s destruction, controls half of what would be a Palestinian state.

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Obama A Novice, Showing No Real Change

December 12, 2008

Since President-elect Barack Obama’s victory over John McCain, people from around the U.S. and the world seem to have transmitted messges to him via the media.  Today, a voice from the heart of Tehran….


A senior Iranian cleric described President-elect Barack Obama on Friday as a novice who was adopting old U.S. tactics of “deception and fraud,” underscoring Iran’s skepticism about prospects for change in U.S. policy.

Some Iranian officials have said Iran would “wait and see” before judging how Obama would act in office, but the president- elect’s call for Iran to stop part of its disputed nuclear work has drawn an uncompromising line from Iran.

Tehran says it will not suspend uranium enrichment, which Washington says has military aims, insisting it wants technology to make fuel for power plants not material for warheads. It says nuclear weapons have no role in Iran’s defense doctrine.


Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (C) attends a demonstration to show support for the people of Gaza, before the start of Friday prayers in Tehran December 12, 2008.REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi (IRAN)

“He (Obama) recently opined that the development of nuclear arms in Iran would be unacceptable, and also that Iran’s support for ‘terrorist organizations’, such as Hezbollah (in Lebanon), is unacceptable,” conservative cleric Ahmad Khatami said.

“I want to say that these statements are made by a raw person, an upstart (in politics), who has just reached power and is traveling the world of thoughts and imagination. The policy of deception and fraud has been an instrument that has defamed all American presidents,” he said.

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Korea Nuclear Talks Collapse

December 12, 2008

A final push by President Bush to complete an agreement to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear weapons program collapsed Thursday, leaving the confrontation with one of the world’s most isolated and intractable nations to the administration of President-elect Barack Obama.
Four days of negotiations in Beijing ended in an impasse after North Korea refused to agree to a system of verifying that it had ended all nuclear activity, which it had pledged to do. Among other things, the North Koreans have objected to allowing soil and air samples to be taken near nuclear facilities and sent overseas for testing.

North Korea could still return to the bargaining table, as it has after previous rifts. Officials, however, indicated that any talks were unlikely to resume before Mr. Bush stepped down in less than six weeks, depriving him of the chance for the breakthrough that the White House had hoped to reach with the North Koreans in the sunset of his presidency.

“What’s unfortunate is that the North Koreans had an opportunity here,” the White House press secretary, Dana M. Perino, said Thursday. “There was an open door, and all they had to do was walk through it.”

The collapse of talks is reminiscent of a….

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