JERUSALEM Two of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s senior aides will go to Washington for separate talks this week. National Security Advisor Efraim Halevy will discuss the regional implications of the Iraq war and the fall of the Ba’ath regime, and the prime minister’s bureau chief Dov Weisglass will bring the White House Israel’s comments on the “road map” plan for a peace settlement.
Israel will suggest that the United States also take care of Iran and Syria because of their support for terror and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Israel will point out the support of Syria and Iran for Hezbollah, which the U.S. considers an important target in the war against international terrorism.
American officials recently said in closed conversations that the U.S. will act against Syria and Iran, but not by military means. The American administration is very angry with Syria for its support of Iraq during the war and its willingness to take in defectors from Saddam Hussein’s regime.
As for Iran, the administration suggests working with the UN and Atomic Energy Commission to halt the Iranian nuclear program.
Weisglass is scheduled to meet National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and present Israel’s reservations on the road map. Senior government sources said Weisglass’s goal is “to make sure things that disturb us won’t happen.”
The administration has made it clear in advance that it is not ready to reopen the road map for discussion and will present it to both sides as is, after the new Palestinian government headed by Abu Mazen is sworn in . Israeli sources assume Weisglass will try to reach “agreed principles to implement the plan” with the Americans that will take Israel’s “red lines” into consideration.
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom spoke with his U.S. counterpart Colin Powell on Friday to prepare for the talks. Shalom said Israeli comments on the road map were meant “to facilitate its implementation,” and explain the political pressures on Sharon’s government. He said “our comments will help get the road map approved by the cabinet.”