The Egyptian government and the Arab League offered their support to Secretary of State Rice’s efforts to achieve resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Ahmed Abdul Gheit indicated he was given assurances from Rice the United States and President Bush were placing this topic as among the highest priorities to be achieved. “We feel encouraged,” said Gheit, “what we heard from Secretary Rice” and promised Egypt would do all in its power to attain an agreement. Both the Arab League and Egypt made clear any agreement must include establishment of a Palestinian state on the basis of 1967 borders.
President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have now ventured out on a limb by promising the Arab League there will be a concrete outcome to the upcoming conference to be held in Annapolis. Any agreement that Arab League members will accept must include, in one form or another, evacuation of most Israel West Bank settlements. The question is whether or not Rice can persuade the Olmert government to accept such an outcome, given the political ramifications that would result in Israel. The risk for Bush is great because failure to reach some type of agreement at Annapolis would doom any efforts by the United States to obtain support from Arab League members in dealing with Middle Eastern issues.