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  2005-02-05-U.S.—Sharm el Sheikh summit
Harrison Weblog

2005 blog


U.S. to observe, not participate
in 4-party Sharm el Sheikh summit
,  Feb. 5, 2005

The United States will be an observer but not a participant in the Sharm El Sheikh summit on Tuesday bringing together top leaders from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt and Jordan, a State Department spokesman says.

"This meeting was organized by the parties involved," State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli said in Washington on Friday. "And so they'll be responsible for the details and the logistics and our presence at the summit will be, I think, marginal."  He said "an official  from our embassy" would attend.

Ereli said this should not be construed as a lack of interest in the part of the United States, but rather as part of an unfolding process.

"This summit is an example of the parties themselves working together to support a goal that we all share, a goal that we've discussed with the parties," Ereli said. "It's a move that we've certainly supported. We've certainly, I think, been part of the thinking. But you don't have to be at every gathering at the highest level to be a player and to be a part of the solution."

Even as those four parties prepare for the summit, the United States is involved in other diplomatic efforts, Ereli said.  "Assistant Secretary (William) Burns will be leaving today for visits to Egypt and Jordan in preparation for the Secretary's (Condoleezza Rice's) visit. The Secretary will be visiting later this week. The Secretary will also be going to London, as she said today, to help work with the Europeans, work with the Palestinians in building Palestinian institutions capable of meeting their responsibilities to govern the Palestinian people.

"We will also be working— we have been working closely — with the Egyptians, with the Jordanians and with the others in engaging them in ways that they can help support the Israelis and Palestinians as Israel withdraws from Gaza and parts of the West Bank and as the Palestinians develop the institutions and practices to exercise authority over land vacated." 
Donald H. Harrison