Transcript: Indyk Sees "Real Opportunity" For Separate Peace Accords
What Did Barak Know
and When Did He Know It?
by David Bedein,
On January 27, 2000, The Israel State Comptroller, the highest arbiter of
the Israeli legal system, asserted that the campaign to elect Ehud Barak as
the prime minister of Israel had established no less than twenty three
fictitious non- profit organizations that had channeled illegal
contributions to Barak's campaign coffers.
These organizations, with innocuous names such as "Hope for Israel", "The
movement for better taxi service", "Citizens from right and left", "Doctors
for immigrant absorption", were established in 1998 and 1999 as bonafide
health, education and welfare organizations, and duly registered as such in
the Israeli government registrar of non-profit organizations.
However, the Israeli State Comptroller documented was that these groups
were transformed into clandestine conduits for Barak's election campaign in
the Spring of 1999. These organizations never bothered to maintain
appropriate book-keeping procedures under the bylaws of the Israeli
government registrar of non-profit organizations, and they were all
stricken from the record.
Some of these organizations maintained organizational ties to American
Jewish organizations such as the Israel Policy Forum, a respected lobbying
organization in Washington, which had been using the services of Attorney
Yitzhak Hertzog as a liaison to the Barak camp in Jerusalem. Hertzog, the
son of the late Israeli president Haim Hertzog, is now the prestigious
cabinet secretary of the Barak government has been identified by the state
comptroller as the attorney of record who oversaw the registration of this
plethora of non-profit organizations on behalf of Barak's election.
Only fifteen minutes after the official publication of the state
comptroller report, the Israeli attorney general Dr. Elyakim Rubenstein
ordered a police investigation to review the Barak campaign allegations.
Essentially, that inquiry will address the question of Barak's
accountability which has shades of the challenge to Nixon in the 1973-74
Watergate committee: What did he know, when did he know it and was he
Barak did not get off to a good start. His first reaction to the Israel
State Comptroller report, issued on January 30, was that he was never
directly engaged in fund-raising activities. Barak had apparently
forgotten about his March 25th, 1999 personal appearance at a $10,000 a
plate dinner given on his behalf in Los Angeles, hosted by California
industrialist Haim Saban and reported on the wire of the Jewish Telegraphic
Agency on March 28th. Reached by Raanana journalist Aaron Lerner at his
home, Tugend affirmed that he had covered the event where Barak had
personally solicited funds from wealthy American supporters.
American citizens who make non-profit contributions that wind up in
political coffers are aware that this violates IRS law. Some of Barak's
American contributors may have reason to be nervous at this time.
Another factor that the Israeli police and public want to know concerns
the involvement of the Clinton Administration. The Israeli police want to
know who was paying the bills for Barak's campaign advisor Tal Zilberstein,
who is retained by Washington political strategists James Carville and
Stanley Greenberg, the same team retained by Clinton. The Israel State
Comptroller notes that Zilberstein was paid in foreign currency. From
where? From private citizens? Or from funds traced to the Clinton
Stay tuned for an unprecedented Israeli police inquiry into the campaign of
prime minister Ehud Barak in the Spring of 1999.
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Pushing Towards a PA State
by David Bedein,
This week, the Israeli government has been asked by the US state department
and by the White House to dispatch representatives to talks that will take
place somewhere near Washington, to meet with representatives of the
Palestinian Liberation Organization's administrative prodigy, known as the
Palestinian Authority (The PA).
On the agenda: Establishing the rudiments of a Palestinian state, no later
than February 13, 2000.
On the face of it, what could Israelis possible have to fear from a
neighboring mini-state, whose size would be half of Rhode Island?
Yet some of the practical and topographical considerations of having a
Palestinian state next door are not lost on people in Israel who already
feel the conseqences of this nascent entity.
The establishment of a Palestinian Authority in 1994 was meant to test the
implications of having an autonomous entity nearby. The consequences have
been tested in many ways:
Israelis who have had their cars stolen and driven into the PA-controlled
areas have been helpless to get their vehicles back or to sue anyone to get
their cars back.
The PA has consistently refused to hand over or indict criminals who have
taken refuge inside the PA.
The PA has provided a sanctuary for 31 Arabs accused of murdering Jews who
have taken refuge inside the PA.
Contrary to all agreements, armed PA officers have been patrolling Jerusalem.
Instead of cracking down on the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror
organizations, the PA has incorporated both groups inside the PA.
Instead of adopting a peace curriculum for the PA schools that would
parelell the peace curriculum that has been running in Israeli schools for
the past six years, the PA ministry of education has adopted a curriculum
that prepares a new generation for a war to liberate all of Palestine.
Arafat's official PA radio and PA TV continue their daily tirade against
Zionism that calls for the Palestinian Arab population to continue a holy
war of Jihad, while the Friday sermons in PA-controlled mosques blare out
calls for obliteration of the Jewish state.
3.5 million Arab refugees, disnfranchised by the PA and confined by the UN
to the squalor of tranist camps inside the PA and in neighoring Arab
countries for more than fifty years under the internationally supported
premise and promise of the "right of return" to the cities and villages
that they left in 1948, now prepare themselves to go back to thsoe cities
and villages, even if they are now occupied by Israeli cities and
Palestinian Arab refugees evoke the recent precedent of Kosovo refugees
who took back their homes and villages from Serbians who had lived there
for more than forty years.
Israeli and western intelligence agencies report that The PA police force
that was supposed to comprise a lightly armed police force of 9.000 has
evolved into fourteen units of a Palestinian Liberation Army of 50,000,
trained by American military advisors.
Small bands of PLA troops could at any time conduct guerilla attacks into
any part of Israel and simply melt into the Palestinian population.
All these factors of a "Palestinian state next door" are known to the
population of Israel, yet not often discussed or reported in the media.
Israelis simply do not take Arab plans and ambitions very seriously, and
most Israelis would prefer to get on with their lives after more than sixty
three years of continuous war in the land of Israel.
The consensus of all major political parties in the Knesset is that if the
economy of the Palestinian entity is strong, then the Palestinian people
will have little reason to engage in hostilities against Israel.
Yet study after study show that humanitarian aid and economic assistance
to the Palestinian Authority has been squandered and embezzled by an elite
circle of people around Yassir Arafat, with little "trickle down" effect to
the Palestnian Arab population who blame Israel for imposing Arafat's
regime on their people.
It would seem that Israel's neighboring state-in-the-making is more like
having Beirut and Teheran next door than the Providence of a Rhode Island.
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Palestinian Authority Controls Jerusalem Newspaper
[Excerpt from The Palestinian Human Rights Monitor V.3, #5, November 1999
Published by The Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group]
Al-Quds is the most widely distributed newspaper, read by 61.3% of the
readers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (according to a poll organized by
Jerusalem Media & Communications Center (JMCC) in August 1998). It was
established in 1951 and was published under the name "Al-Jihad" until 1967
which is when it was joined by "Al-Difa'a" to give it its present name
"Al-Quds". Its owner and publisher is Mahmoud Abu-Zalaf. Its chief editor is
his son, Waleed Abu-Zalaf.
Prior to the Intifada (uprising), the newspaper followed the line of
Jordan, but after the Intifada there was an agreement between the
administration of the newspaper and the PLO that the newspaper would follow
only a Palestinian line and that the PLO would, in turn, support it
After the coming of the PA, the placement of the censor's red lines was no
longer so clear: a dispute between the PA and al-Quds over the number of
people attending one of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) rallies
occurred and resulted in General Ghazi al-Jabali, head of the Palestinian
Police, blocking the distribution of al-Quds in the Gaza Strip for four
days. Following this occurrence, a close relationship was forged between the
administrative editor of al-Quds and Colonel Jibreel al-Rujoub, Head of the
Preventive Security in the West Bank, which resulted in daily contact
between the two parties with a view to agreeing firstly on what should
appear on the front page of each edition and secondly on the content of
articles criticising the Authority or one of its institutions.
For the PA's strategy to be executed perfectly and to avoid journalists
wasting time, they are given instructions on how to write and edit articles
and reports that are void of any critical analysis by the journalist
himself. If a piece of news is deemed to be vital but criticizes the
authority, it is published in an inconspicuous place within the paper and
with a small heading. Thus the story in effect loses its importance.
Moreover, when a piece mentions that a security organ has abused a citizen,
the newspaper inevitably fails to give details of the name or age of the
victim and fails to mention which security department has been responsible.
If the matter involves criticism of high officials in the Authority, al-Quds
does not publish anything on the matter until it has been dealt with by
other papers. A journalist who works for al-Quds is on record as having said
that "before publishing the report on corruption within the PA, I had to
submit a draft copy of it: the newspaper did not publish it immediately. If
it had done so, this would have constituted a precedent. After this episode,
I stayed at home for a week not doing anything".
At times the newspaper is asked to delay publication of a report dealing
with an error committed by the PA until the latter straightens things out.
After this has been done, the newspaper publishes a report both on the error
as well as on its rectification. On other occasions a journalist from the
paper is asked to conduct an interview with someone who is on good terms
with the owner of the paper whilst the paper refuses to publish anything on
individuals that are on bad terms with the owner.
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Jane's Defence Weekly:
Israel Warns Against Syria Obtaining New Weapons
26th January, 2000
Israel's military chiefs are urging their government to prevent Syria from
obtaining US or Western aid that would allow Damascus to purchase strategic
Israeli commanders are concerned that Syria, in the wake of any peace treaty
with Israel, would obtain billions of dollars in US and Western aid that
would allow Damascus to buy weapons systems that could significantly alter
the military balance in the region.
"We are not threatening the Syrians," Israel air force commander Maj Gen
Eitan Ben-Eliahu told Jane's Defence Weekly. "So, we don't see them needing
anything more than they already have - particularly regarding weapons that
can leave their borders." Gen Ben-Eliahu was referring to Syrian efforts to
purchase the Almaz S-300 (NATO codename: SA-10 'Grumble') air defence system
from Moscow. Negotiations have proceeded for two years, hampered by Syria's
$11 billion debt to Russia and the insistence by Damascus on a long-term
Israeli commanders said the procurement of the S-300 would mark a major
improvement in Syrian air defence and jeopardise Israeli deterrence. It
would also mark the most important step in Syria's two-year effort in
bolstering its military.
Aides to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said Israel would not oppose US
military aid to Syria. They said Syrian dependence on the USA could help
ensure any peace treaty between Damascus and Jerusalem.
Military sources said they could agree to US or Western deliveries of
weapons that do not represent a significant improvement over what is
currently in Syria's arsenal.
Israel's military intelligence chief Maj Gen Amos Malka said Syria under
President Hafez Assad has in some cases caught up or even exceeded Israel in
some areas of military prowess. "If Assad asks his chief of staff tomorrow
morning what is the army's combat-readiness level, he will get an answer
that the army is much more prepared than it was when he received it from the
previous chief of staff two years ago," Gen Malka told a seminar at Tel Aviv
University's Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies on 17 January.
The reference, Israeli military sources said, was to Syria's anti-armour
capability and electronic countermeasures. Gen Malka disputed a report by
the Jaffee Centre's annual military balance that dismissed a Syrian military
"The Syrian Army is not in the best shape," Gen Malka said. "Army-to-army
the Israel Defence Force [IDF] stands out qualitatively over the Syrian Army
and if war broke out between them the IDF would be victorious. But to jump
to the extreme conclusion with significant ramifications that Syria doesn't
have any military option and that its army is collapsing is too far-reaching
IDF chiefs are also urging Barak to ensure that Egypt, which signed a peace
treaty with Israel in 1979, will also be denied certain US weapons. The IDF
wants Washington to pledge that it will continue to ban any sale of the
Boeing F-15 Eagle fighter to Egypt.
Egypt already has more than 200 F-16s. It is regarded as having the best
navy and second-best air force in the Middle East - largely because of 20
years of US arms sales and training.
IDF commanders have pointed to a US pledge to maintain Israel's qualitative
edge over its neighbours. "To maintain this edge, we should not have the
F-15s sent to any other country except Israel," said Gen Ben-Eliahu.
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Signs of Iraqi Arms Buildup Bedevil U.S. Administration
by Steven Lee Myers,
Page 1, New York Times, 1st February, 2000
Washington, Jan. 31 -- Satellite photographs and American intelligence
reports have shown that Iraq has in the last year rebuilt military and
industrial sites damaged by American and British air strikes in late
1998, officials say.
The recent intelligence findings have raised concerns among Defense
Department and other officials in the Clinton administration that in the
prolonged absence of international weapons inspectors, whose job would
be to search those structures, President Saddam Hussein's government has
continued its pursuit of biological and chemical weapons.
Despite those concerns, the administration's policy has been allowed
to drift, leaving the United States unable to force Iraq to accept a
resumption of inspections even after resolving an impasse at the United
Nations Security Council.
Iraq's refusal has now left the administration in a quandary over how
to respond at a time when international support for its policy and for
sanctions against Mr. Hussein is waning.
"There is concern in intelligence circles that he has begun to
rebuild buildings that could enable him" to produce chemical or
biological weapons, a senior administration official said. "He has had a
lot of time to operate without inspections."
Although the intelligence reports have not provided concrete evidence
that Iraq is producing chemical or biological weapons, the officials
said, the reports have raised the possibility of renewed military
confrontation, because the administration has repeatedly warned that any
effort by Iraq to produce the weapons would prompt new American air
The concern has given urgency to the new inspection program created
last month by the Security Council. But for the administration, the
latest Iraqi defiance has been met with frustration, uncertainty over
how to proceed and even fatigue.
In his State of the Union address on Thursday, Mr. Clinton devoted
exactly six words to Iraq. The American representative to the United
Nations, Richard C. Holbrooke, a diplomat noted for his tenacity, barely
involved himself in the Security Council's negotiations over
inspections, leaving them to his deputy, James B. Cunningham, who
arrived in New York just last month.
Despite a policy of "containment," punctuated by American-led strikes
in 1993, 1996 and 1998, Mr. Hussein remains as much a thorn as he was
when Mr. Clinton took office. And Iraq's defiance comes in a year when
any action by the administration would have political ramifications in
the presidential campaign.
Nearly a year and a half after Iraq blocked the last team of United
Nations inspectors, administration officials said that getting
inspectors back into the country remained the best way to determine if
Baghdad's weapons programs were continuing.
Last week, after months of diplomatic wrangling, the Security Council
agreed to nominate Hans Blix of Sweden to lead a new inspection team in
Iraq, having rejected a candidate supported by the United States, Rolf
Ekeus, also of Sweden.
Russia and France vetoed Mr. Ekeus's nomination after consultations
with Mr. Hussein's government, diplomatic officials said.
But while Iraq has been less hostile toward Mr. Blix, Iraqi officials
have said they will not accept any resumption of international weapons
inspections under the terms of the latest Security Council resolution.
Even if Mr. Hussein eventually relents and allows Mr. Blix's team to
enter the country, it will take at least three or four months before
inspectors can resume work inside Iraq. Administration officials
expressed their concerns when asked to assess the state of Washington's
policy toward Iraq. Some officials defended the administration's
approach, but others, including Pentagon officials, criticized the
policy out of concern that it has left the United States few viable
Thirteen months ago, the United States and Britain launched four
nights of air and missile strikes to punish Mr. Hussein after he
expelled the last team of weapons inspectors. At the time, senior
commanders estimated that the operation had set back Iraq's ability to
produce chemical or biological weapons -- and the missiles needed to
launch them -- by one to two years.
"We're marching toward that point" now, a senior military officer
Pentagon and other officials declined to discuss the recent
intelligence findings in detail, but they said Iraq had rebuilt many of
the 100 installations damaged or destroyed in the American and British
raids in December 1998.
Of those targets, 12 were missile factories or industrial sites that
commanders said were involved in Iraq's efforts to produce weapons of
mass destruction. The officials said significant reconstruction had been
seen at those sites, including Al Taji missile complex north of Baghdad.
In the wake of the diplomatic wrangling, administration officials
defended their policy toward Iraq. They said they remained determined to
contain Mr. Hussein militarily while maintaining the economic sanctions
first imposed when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 and while supporting
Iraqi opposition groups.
Officials emphasized that a new American attack did not appear
imminent. They said they wanted to see if the new inspection program
would eventually get off the ground before taking any action that could
further erode international support for the American stance toward Iraq.
But the officials said there remained three "red lines" that the
United States would not let the Iraqis cross: a threat against a
neighboring country like Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, an attack on the
Kurdish minority in northern Iraq or a reconstitution of nuclear,
chemical or biological weapons programs.
Critics of Washington's handling of Iraq said the administration
appeared to have no clear plan on how to force an end to Iraq's
defiance. "There is no adult supervision of our policy," said Anthony H.
Cordesman, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies in Washington.
And despite American efforts to unify Iraqi opposition groups,
factions remain. The administration has provided only a small part of
the $97 million that Congress authorized to support those bent on
overthrowing Mr. Hussein's government.
Also, international sanctions are fraying. To win Russian and French
support for the new weapons inspection program, the United States and
Britain agreed to offer Iraq an opportunity to end the sanctions. Under
the new Security Council resolution, the United Nations will suspend
sanctions if Iraq cooperates with the new inspectors.
But one reason for the continued Iraqi defiance may be that the
sanctions are already leaking. Iraq is allowed to export $10 billion a
year to buy food and other essential goods, and while the proceeds are
closely monitored by the United Nations, the Iraqis have been able to
divert some of the money, administration officials said.
Mr. Hussein's government has also been able to earn millions of
dollars in smuggling. Since August, Iraq has steadily increased illicit
shipments of oil from the Shatt al Arab waterway, much of it flowing
through an installation near the port of Basra that American warplanes
attacked and damaged in 1998, the officials said.
Last month, Iraq's illicit trade reached the highest level since the
Gulf war. More than 130 ships, some of them Russian, left the port and
skirted the Iranian coast, staying in Iran's territorial waters to evade
American ships trying to intercept them. "The Iranians are at least
tacitly involved in this," a senior administration official said.
In the same month, Navy warships boarded only 36 ships and seized
only 4. According to American intelligence estimates, Iraq was able to
smuggle out a record amount of 317,000 metric tons of oil, or more than
2.3 million barrels, in December alone. At today's price of about $27 a
barrel, the shipments were worth more than $62 million.
A recent intelligence report concluded that the smuggling was
undermining the sanctions. Pentagon and other administration officials
say they increasingly worry that the proceeds may be intended to finance
But another senior Administration official said the amounts of illicit
profit were not enough to allow Mr. Hussein to produce nuclear, chemical
or biological weapons. "What's inside the buildings is much more
expensive to put up than any walls and roofs," the official said.
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Indyk Sees "Real Opportunity" For Separate Peace Accords
(Ambassador to Israel says three accords "achievable this year")
January 27, 2000
Martin Indyk, recently returned to Israel for his second tour as U.S.
ambassador, told an Israeli television interviewer January 25 that he
believes "that there is a real opportunity now on the Syrian, Lebanese and
Palestinian tracks to achieve, not one agreement, but three agreements this
The U.S. goal "is to work with the Government of Israel to try to achieve
what is an ambitious agenda, but one which, President Clinton agrees with
Prime Minister Barak, is achievable this year."
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin S. Indyk's Interview with Israel TV
Channel One Senior Correspondent Ehud Yaari
January 25, 2000
Mr Yaari: Welcome to Israel, Mr. Ambassador.
Ambassador Indyk (In Hebrew): Thank you very much.
Question: It's quite unusual for an ambassador to return to the place he
was serving in for a second round.
Ambassador Indyk: It feels quite unusual. It's like Rip Van Winkle waking
up out of the dream and coming back to the place that's the same. Of
course, it's changed, but I am delighted to be back; my family is also
excited to be back, and we are looking forward to working with Prime
Minister Barak and the government and people of Israel in an intensive
effort to try to achieve a real peace -- a comprehensive peace and a secure
peace for Israel -- this year.
Question: One of the previous Prime Minister's confidantes, Mr. David
Bar-Ilan, is already attacking you publicly. I am asking you, was there any
bad taste left last time when you left the job here to take up your
position in Washington when Mr. Netanyahu was prime minister?
Ambassador Indyk: You know it's in the nature of Israeli society that
people can't rest for long without attacking somebody, and I am a big
target. I think that's unimportant. I am the ambassador of the United
States to Israel -- that means to all of Israel. I certainly expect to have
close working relations not only with the government but also with the
Question: Can Mr. Netanyahu expect an invitation to a dinner some time at
the Ambassador's residence?
Ambassador Indyk: Of course. I would expect to pay a courtesy call on him
as I would on Prime Minister Shamir.
Question: If I may, Mr. Ambassador, I would like to switch to something
that Syrian official sources were leaking recently. They were saying,
through their mouth-peace, a Lebanese newspaper by the name of "Al-Safir"
that the peace team of which you were a prominent member . . .
Ambassador Indyk: I am a prominent member.
Question: I stand corrected . . . that the peace team:
you, Dennis Ross and the
rest of them are pro-Likud. That you were unofficial members quote unquote
of the Israeli delegation to Sheperdstown. Why would they attack you?
Ambassador Indyk: Well, I don't think that's serious.
It's in the nature of
this business that I am or we are accused of being either pro-Likud or
anti-Likud. In your two questions you have the two opposite positions. I
think we have to do what we have to do, and that is to try to be honest
brokers in a situation in which, of course, we have a close and strong
relationship with Israel -- of which the present Secretary and the peace
team are proud -- because we believe that that is the cornerstone for a
comprehensive peace. It is impossible to achieve a real peace in which
Israel has to take risks for peace and has to take painful decisions -- it
is impossible for Israel to do those kinds of things unless it has the
solid, secure, strong backing of the United States. Some people see that as
somehow that has an impact on our ability to play the role of honest
broker. I say the exact opposite. Because we have a relationship, a close
relationship, a strong relationship of trust with the Government and the
people of Israel, it gives us the ability to play an effective role in the
Question: Were you surprised by the size of the Israeli request for a
Ambassador Indyk: No. We have known for some time that when it comes to a
deal involving the Golan, that Israel's security requirements are going to
be substantial. We are working hard on that request to refine it, to see
how we can be responsive. But there is a basic underlying commitment that,
if you remember, President Clinton made to Prime Minister Rabin in April of
1993. When then Prime Minister Rabin made his first visit to meet with the
new President, President Clinton said: "Prime Minister Rabin, you have told
me that you have a mandate to take calculated risks for peace, and I will
tell you that my role is to minimize those risks."
Question: Tomahawk missiles -- is it a possibility? Tomahawk cruise missiles?
Ambassador Indyk: I am not going to get into details of the package we are
looking at, at Israel's request. We obviously owe an answer to the
Government of Israel and we will be talking to them about all of these
things before we talk about them in public. Of course, we have a
responsibility to work with the Congress to make sure that the Congress
will be supportive of this also. So, there are a lot of steps that have to
be taken before we can answer questions like that.
Question: Are you concerned because the Syrian technical team did not show
up in Washington as expected?
Ambassador Indyk: No. I think that this is a timing or a scheduling issue
and, as we understand it, we want the Israeli team to come first and the
Syrian team will follow.
Question: Finally, Mr. Ambassador, do you think it's "doable?" That is:
getting a framework with the Palestinians, getting out of Lebanon in an
agreement and clinching a deal with Syria in the span of the few next months?
Ambassador Indyk: Well, as I said at the outset, our intention is to
achieve a comprehensive peace in the coming year by working with the
Government of Israel to do that. Whether it's achievable in the exact
timetable as laid out now is not clear. But I certainly believe that there
is a real opportunity now on the Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian tracks to
achieve not one agreement, but three agreements this year. That is the
intention of Prime Minister Barak, and our intention -- President Clinton,
Secretary Albright and myself as their representative here in Israel -- is
to work with the Government of Israel to try to achieve what is an
ambitious agenda but one which, President Clinton agrees with Prime
Minister Barak, is achievable this year.
Question: Competitive simultaneity between the tracks -- is it helpful or
is it damaging?
Ambassador Indyk: We have a word in English "symbiosis," which means that
there is an interaction between the two, which produces a positive outcome.
I have always felt that if it's possible to have all the tracks moving
simultaneously, what develops out of that is that movement on one track
helps to produce movement on another track. So, it has always been our
objective to have all the tracks moving. That's why the Secretary of State
is going to Moscow next week to re-launch the multilaterals at a
ministerial level, because that track also can help to grease the skids on
the other two tracks. So, we really would like to see all the tracks
moving. It's my understanding that that's Prime Minister's Barak's
intention as well.
Mr Yaari: Thank you very much, Mr. Ambassador.
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