US President-elect George Bush is likely to shift America's foreign policy emphasis from Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to the Syrian track, the Israeli Haaretz newspaper, quoting members of Bush's foreign policy team.
The paper quoted Edward Djerejian, a former US ambassador to Syria as telling the Washington Post newspaper that in the short term, the chances for an Israeli-Syrian agreement are better than those for an Israeli-Palestinian deal.
Djerejian is expected to play a key role in the new government's Middle East policy, said Haaretz.
Senior members of Bush's foreign policy team also said that the new president is likely to abandon the hands-on involvement of current President Bill Clinton, preferring instead to leave the peace process to his staff, headed by Secretary of State-designate Colin Powell, Haaretz added.
The officials charged that Clinton's involvement had impaired the presidency's stature, as well as his ability to influence and arbitrate between the parties.
Djerejian also told the Washington Post that Clinton had erred in concentrating on interim agreements, which in the end left both Israel and the Palestinians dissatisfied.
"The new administration plans to return to the principles of direct bilateral negotiations and land for peace in accordance with UN resolutions 242 and 338," he was quoted as saying.
The official also that the US could permit itself to bring Europe, Russia and the UN into the negotiations without sacrificing its primacy -- Albawaba.com
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