A top adviser to US Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore suggested on Friday that President Bill Clinton, before agreeing to meet Syrian President Hafez Assad in Geneva in March, had received assurances that Assad would accept the compromise he was bringing, reported the Jerusalem Post Sunday.
The paper sad that since the failed March summit, accounts of the meeting have said that Clinton miscalculated in thinking he could persuade Assad to accept a compromise, which would leave Israel with full control of Lake Kinneret in any peace agreement.
The meeting reportedly turned sour within the first few minutes after Clinton presented Israel's offer to Assad, who had expected a pronouncement that Prime Minister Ehud Barak would agree to withdraw to the June 4, 1967 border, giving Syria control of Kinneret's northeastern shore, said the Israeli daily.
At a debate hosted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy between Robert Zoellick, a top foreign-policy adviser to Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush, and Gore's national-security adviser Leon Fuerth, Zoellick said he was "deeply troubled to see President Clinton go to Geneva and get stiffed by Assad."
Fuerth said in response: "What makes you think the President didn't know what was supposed to happen? What makes you think it wasn't Assad who for his own reasons got fickle at the last moment, past the point of no return?"
It was the first time a US official had suggested that the Americans had prior information that Assad would agree to the compromise but then reneged.
Clinton later said the ball was in Assad's court and the Syrians sent a message to the Americans which US officials described as insufficient to push the process forward. The US has not yet replied - Albawaba.com
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