Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

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Obama Sends Special Envoy to Mideast

Posted by gaetanoditommaso su 26 gennaio, 2009

WASHINGTON — President Obama has dispatched his special envoy, George J. Mitchell, to the Middle East, kicking off a diplomatic initiative that Mr. Obama pledged would be vigorous and sustained, but would start off primarily as a listening tour.

Mr. Obama met with Mr. Mitchell and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the White House, just before Mr. Mitchell, a former Senate majority leader, left for an eight-day trip to the Middle East and Europe. He arrived in Cairo Tuesday.

“The charge that Senator Mitchell has is to engage vigorously and consistently in order for us to achieve genuine progress,” Mr. Obama said in the Cabinet Room of the White House, according to The Associated Press. “And when I say progress, not just photo ops, but progress that is concrete.”

Mr. Obama has moved swiftly to engage in the Middle East, phoning Arab and Israeli leaders on his first full day in office and announcing Mr. Mitchell’s appointment the next day.

Mr. Mitchell, a seasoned negotiator, helped broker a peace agreement in Northern Ireland and led a commission investigating the causes of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

On Monday, Mr. Obama taped his first television interview in the White House, choosing Al Arabiya, an Arabic-language news channel based in Dubai. The interview was broadcast on Tuesday.

Mr. Obama reined in expectations for Mr. Mitchell’s maiden trip, saying it was intended mainly as a listening and learning exercise. But Mr. Mitchell will also work with the Egyptians, Israelis and Palestinians to fortify the truce in Gaza, which has held for more than a week.

The United States has pledged to help Israel crack down on tunnels through which Hamas militants smuggle rocket parts into Gaza. It also promised to interdict ships carrying arms in the Mediterranean.

Mr. Obama said Mr. Mitchell would seek “to ensure that Palestinians in Gaza are able to get the basic necessities they need and that they can see a pathway towards long-term development.”

Mr. Mitchell will make a stop in the West Bank, a State Department spokesman said, though he will not venture into Gaza or meet with Hamas officials.

With Israel scheduled to hold an election on Feb. 10, analysts said the political climate in the Middle East was too fluid for the United States to present any major initiatives.

“Until we know who the next Israeli prime minister is, the political work will have to wait,” said Robert Malley, a Middle East expert at the International Crisis Group who worked in the Clinton administration. “It’s a blessing in disguise because we can take some time to review the policy.”

Helene Cooper contributed reporting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/washington/28diplo.html?_r=1&ref=middleeast

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