US - Israeli troop withdrawal
Palestine-USA, Politics, 3/31/1999
US State Department spokesman James Rubin said yesterday that Israel should focus on implementing their responsibilities under the Wye River agreement, saying, "Rather than focus on sequence, the government of Israel should focus on implementing their obligations."
He said both parties should be serious about implementing their responsibilities, in response to media reports that quoted a US embassy official in Israel as saying that the US expects the Palestinian Authority to complete the implementation of it obligations under Wye before Israel resumes redeployments in the West Bank.
"I disputed the report because the senior administration official, whoever he or she might be, isn't always right," Rubin said.
He said that during phase one of the agreement Israel and the Palestinians work together to fulfill their obligations, adding, "Under phase two, the Palestinians have fulfilled some of their commitments, particularly with respect to fighting terror. There are other commitments under phase two that they have yet to fulfill. The Israelis, for their part, have not fulfilled any of their commitments under phase two."
"If we had a serious process engaged right now, we wouldn't be engaged in discussion of sequence," he said.
Rubin added that regarding the Israeli closure of Palestinian offices in Jerusalem, the US regards Jerusalem as "an extremely sensitive matter" and calls on both sides to avoid "steps that further complicate an already volatile issue."
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