A May 14 article incorrectly identified the organization that Assistant Secretary of State John S. Wolf is leaving the administration to join. Wolf will be president of the Eisenhower Fellowships, not the Eisenhower Institute. (Published 5/18/04)
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell is to meet tomorrow with Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia in Jordan, just two days before Qureia meets with national security adviser Condoleezza Rice in Berlin, Powell and Palestinian officials said yesterday.
The unusual back-to-back meetings for Qureia, who until now has been publicly shunned by the administration since he took office in November, underscore the dramatic effort by the administration to reach out to the Arab world after the global outcry over images of prison abuse in Iraq by U.S. soldiers.
Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary of State John S. Wolf -- tapped last summer by President Bush to oversee the administration's peace plan known as the "road map" -- will be resigning to become president of the Eisenhower Institute, sources said. Wolf last traveled to the region in January and recently returned to running the department's nonproliferation bureau, but officially he still is a presidential Middle East envoy. Wolf declined to comment.
Arabs had heavily criticized the administration for appearing to tilt toward Israel in peace negotiations when last month it embraced Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw from Gaza. But in the past week, the White House has emphasized that key issues separating the Israelis and Palestinians must be negotiated by the parties themselves.
Asked by Denmark's DR-TV how the United States will overcome the Arab sentiment that it is too closely linked to Israel, Powell replied: "I will be seeing the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority this weekend. I'll be meeting with Arab leaders in Jordan to let them know that the president is still committed to the creation of a Palestinian state living side by side in peace with Israel."
Palestinian officials are divided over how to respond to the overture, with one faction believing this is the last chance to build a relationship with the Bush administration.