US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni during their meeting Monday night, that there is no shift in the American position that the three kidnapped soldiers must be released unconditionally. Rice denied the statements of her senior advisor Philip Zelikow, and said that there is no linkage between how the Iranian threat is treated and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“It is true that when we look at the big picture of the Middle East, we do see the connections between all the regional factors, but we do not stipulate such a linkage,” Rice said.
Rice said that the way Israel sees the new Palestinian unity government is positive. “We do not wish to de-legitimize the Palestinian government, but without the three basic principles being adhered to, we cannot legitimize any government, regardless of who heads it,” Livni told Rice. Later the words were reiterated to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Livni met with Abbas and told him that Israel and the US will not support the new Palestinian unity government if it does not recognize the three basic conditions. “Insistence on those three conditions is meant to produce the necessary change in the Palestinian Authority,” Livni added.