Wednesday, September 19, 2007

MP Odwan warns of Rice's pressure on Abbas, Arab states over conference

Comment: An Arab point of view of Ms. Rice's upcoming visit

GAZA, (PIC)--Former PA minister and Hamas senior political leader MP Dr. Atef Odwan has expressed pessimism over the anticipated visit of US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice "It is expected that Rice will pressure PA chief Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli premier Ehud Olmert into introducing compromises in a bid to attract and persuade reluctant Arab states into attending the said conference", said Odwan in press statement he made Tuesday and a copy of which was obtained by the PIC.
He explained that the US top diplomat aims at convincing influential Arab states into attending and blessing the conference so as to portray the incumbent US administration of President George W. Bush as if it was indeed serious in searching for a solution to the Palestinian question and pushing the Middle East peace process forward.
But he stressed that the conference is doomed to failure due to the "absence of genuine Israeli and US willingness to grant the Palestinian people their legitimate rights that the Israeli occupation government had usurped six decades ago.
"I am of full conviction that the meeting was designed to achieve Israeli and USA political interest only without bothering about the legal rights of the Palestinian people", the Hamas's legislator said.
At the same time, Odwan ruled out talks between Hamas and Fatah movement, at least till the conference scheduled date, attributing his conclusions to the US and Israeli pressures on Abbas not to talk to Hamas.
"If the conference failed, Abbas will emerge empty handed out of it, and the US administration will definitely sideline him in order to concentrate on the upcoming US election campaign, and he (Abbas) will, at that time, realizes he was isolated and would seek Arab mediation to start national talks with Hamas", Odwan stated.
He also explained that Olmert was keen and concerned to hold that conference because it would provide him a short time to relax and after the headache caused by the Winograd report that reaped heads of a number of his cabinet members and war generals.
Moreover, Odwan opined that Olmert was searching for something to rescue him form the quagmire of the repercussions of the war his occupation army had waged on Lebanon last year and emerged defeated, in addition to his desire to portray himself before the world as a peacemaker.
Bush, on the other hand, Odwan underscored, wants to achieve something on the Palestinian track so as to be remembered as a peacemaker and not as a war-monger before he bids final farewell to the White House next year", Odwan explained.
As far as the Arab states' positions towards the conference are concerned, Odwan classified the Arab states into self-respecting states that prefer not to dance with the US policies in the region, and other states that blindly follow the US dictates without paying an attention to their own states' national interest or the Palestinian people's national interest.

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