Shalom: PM's US visit 'unsuccessful'

"On the convergence plan, there is a big disagreement between Olmert and Bush."

silvan shalom 248 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
silvan shalom 248 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Former foreign minister MK Silvan Shalom told the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that despite the honor bestowed on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, his visit to Washington was "far from successful." "There's no doubt that he got an American hug" says Shalom, "but that's what always happens with a prime minister's first visit to Washington. But you can't hide the discord." Shalom divides the visit into three main components. "From the ceremonial point of view, he got everything. And also on the Iranian issue there is an agreement between the two governments. But on the convergence plan which was the main aim of the visit, there is a big disagreement." Olmert's advisors were quick to brief Israeli reporters covering the visit on the Bush Administrations support for Olmert's plans but Shalom drew a different conclusion. "The moment President Bush says that facts on the ground can be determined only with both sides agreement; it's clear what he thinks. You notice also that he's referring to Olmert's 'ideas' and not his 'plans.'" According to Shalom Olmert received the message. "He's suddenly mentioning the roadmap again and talking about implementation of his plans in three years, when Bush won't be in office anymore." Shalom said that Olmert's convergence plan was totally different from former prime minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan, which he supported. "It worked in the Gaza withdrawal because we retreated to the international border. But now everything that Olmert has been saying since the elections is devoid of any real content. He's proposing a withdrawal without any purpose." The Likud MK also claimed that following the Hamas elections victory, Israel shouldn't be embarking upon any peace initiative." Right now there is no one to talk to on the other side, but that doesn't mean that we have to act unilaterally. We don't have to withdraw for the sake of it. The ball should be on the Palestinians side, they should have an interest in coming towards us and changing the policy of the Hamas government."