Creating people's geographies
1. White House rules out one-on-one talks with Iran | Reuters Alert Net | 6 Dec 2006
The White House on Wednesday said it has ruled out one-on-one talks with Iran about Iraq unless Tehran suspends nuclear activities, after the Iraq Study Group recommended more engagement with the Islamic republic. The report by the bipartisan panel recommended that the White House overcome its resistance to dealing directly with Iran and Syria. “It’s not clear … whether the report advocates one-on-one talks with Iran, there is talk about developing a support group,” White House spokesman Tony Snow said. “There may be a difference between one-on-one talks with Iran, which is something that we have ruled out,” he said. “Unless Iran verifiably suspends its enrichment and reprocessing activities.” President George W. Bush has repeatedly said Iran must suspend its nuclear activities program. “The president believes that Iran has to change its behavior,” Snow said. He emphasized that the White House would look carefully at the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. “I don’t want to rule out entirely because it’s worth taking a look at what all this means.”
2. Olmert rejects Syria talks | Al Jazeera | 7 Dec 2006
Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, has said he has no intention of opening peace talks with Syria, despite the recommendations of a top-level US panel.
The Iraq Study Group’s report, released on Wednesday, calls for talks between Israel and Syria, and says that a resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict could help the situation in Iraq.
Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, has called in recent months for a new round of talks with Israel.
“I don’t think there is a Syrian desire for war with us. We certainly don’t have a desire to fight with them. That doesn’t mean conditions ripe for us to negotiate with them,” Olmert said.
The report says that Israel should return the Golan Heights to Syria in return for a secure peace agreement.