Romney plans to bring new face to old conflict

In advance excerpts of foreign policy speech, presidential candidate to declare support for Palestinian state, action on Iran.

October 8, 2012 09:30
2 minute read.
Republican candidate Mitt Romney in Virginia

Republican candidate Mitt Romney in Virginia 370 (R). (photo credit: Jim Young / Reuters)


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US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney plans to declare his commitment to the notion of "a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel," according to advance excerpts of his remarks provided by his campaign released on Sunday.

"In this old conflict, as in every challenge we face in the Middle East, only a new president will bring the chance to begin anew," Romney is billed to say. “It is time to change course in the Middle East.”

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The speech marks an attempt to soften his stance on the peace process following leaked video footage last month where the presidential candidate questioned the feasibility of the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank.

"I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say, "There's just no way."” Romney said last month.

Romney is to make the renewed commitment in a major foreign policy speech, titled "The Mantle of Leadership", in Lexington, Virginia late Monday evening where he intends to lay out his vision for American foreign policy. According to reports, he hopes to draw "great contrast" with that of President Barack Obama, notably on Syria, Libya and Egypt.

He is also billed to talk on the Iranian nuclear threat, where he is to warn Iran not to pursue nuclear weapon capability and said the US had to back this up "through actions, not just words."

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The speech also links the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi last month to al-Qaida.

Romney is to call the attack "likely the work of the same forces that attacked our homeland on September 11th, 2001," and "the deliberate work of terrorists." This is in stark contrast to the current administration line, which says the attack was a spontaneous response to the anti-Islam movie that mocks the Prophet Muhammad.

He is billed to add: "This latest assault cannot be blamed on a reprehensible video insulting Islam, despite the administration's attempts to convince us of that for so long."

The excerpts of the speech suggest he plans to provide unequivocal support for the rebels in Syria against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"I will work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad's tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets."

He anticipated that the rebels will one day lead the country and the US should align itself with them.

Romeny's speech at the Virginia Military Institute will mark the 10th address on the topic of foreign policy since summer 2011.

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