New US road map monitor arrives to begin work

Diplomatic officials say Fraser's role will be more as a "coach" than as a "referee."

Livni cool 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Livni cool 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
US Lt.-Gen. William Fraser, the new road map implementation monitor, arrived Sunday for an intensive round of meetings with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders. According to a US Embassy official, the purpose of his visit was to "discuss ways the two parties can move forward on their road map commitments." Fraser was appointed to this post during US President George W. Bush's visit here earlier in the month. According to diplomatic officials, Fraser's role will be more as a "coach," pressing the sides to do what they obligated themselves to do under the road map, than as a "referee," publicly pointing out the infractions of either side. Under the road map, the Palestinians are to declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and begin operations to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, including in the Gaza Strip, and Israel is to stop all settlement activity and dismantle settlement outposts set up after March 2001. Fraser met Sunday with US Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones; US Consul-General in Jerusalem Jacob Walles; Amos Gilad, head of the political-military bureau at the Defense Ministry, and OC Planning Division Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan. On Monday, he met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's top aides Shalom Turgeman and Yoram Turbowicz, Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) head Yuval Diskin, and Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi. He is also scheduled to meet leading Palestinian, UN and Quartet officials before leaving on Friday. Barak, after his meeting with Fraser, issued a statement saying that he stressed in the meeting the importance of the security issues as the "fundamental anchor" for moving the diplomatic process forward. He said there was a need to "invest" in this issue in order to yield results for both sides, and also laid out for Fraser "Israel's security interests." During Livni's meeting with Fraser - which diplomatic officials described as an "introductory meeting," - she briefed him on the current security situation and, according to a statement issued from her office, emphasized that implementation of the road map must be applied to the Gaza Strip as well. "We are sincere in our wish to reach an agreement, and there are security parameters upon which we cannot compromise. The world cannot permit another terror state, and complete implementation of the road map is the main element that will prevent its establishment," Livni said.