Rudd still sees linkage between Iran and diplomatic talks

Australian FM to 'Post': Israeli-Palestinian accord would allow Arab world to "exclusively focus" on Iran.

December 14, 2010 22:49
3 minute read.
Australian FM Kevin Rudd at a conference in Israel

rudd in israel_311. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Despite numerous cables released by WikiLeaks showing Sunni Arab leaders imploring the US to take assertive action against Teheran, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday that an Israeli-Palestinian agreement would be a “gamechanger in relation to Iran.”

In an exclusive interview, Rudd said that if the Arab and Islamic world accepted and reconciled itself to a Palestinian-Israeli agreement, it would then be able to “exclusively focus on the challenge of Iran’s nuclear threat to the wider region.”


The Australian foreign minister defended this position at a press conference Tuesday after meeting Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, saying that while recognizing Israel’s “unique security circumstances” and acknowledging that movement toward the NPT would be “shaped by the developing security situation in the wider region,” Australia’s fundamental position – one agreed upon by all Australian governments – was that all states should be in the NPT, including Israel.

This position is obviously welcomed in the Arab world. For instance, a US cable from the embassy in Cairo on April 28, 2009, released by WikiLeaks on Monday evening, said that the Egyptian Foreign Ministry believed “that a harder US line in UN fora on Israel’s nuclear program would strengthen the US position on demanding Iran cease working to develop nuclear weapons.”

Regarding the diplomatic process with the Palestinians, Rudd came out squarely against attempts to impose a solution from the outside, saying “all the final-status issues are there for the two parties to determine, not for any third party.”

He also backed Israel’s demand that any agreement constitute an “end of conflict,” saying that any accord agreed upon should not be “revisited in the future with any second set of future demands.”

Rudd warned that if what he characterized as the “great and unique opportunity” to “close this deal now” were not seized, it could lead to the “recommencement of terrorist activity within the West Bank” and could call into question “the future posture of the moderate Arab states that have long supported the peace process.”

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