America's Ambassador to Jordan, Robert Beecroft, lost no time in maintaining the illusion of momentum created by America's Special Envoy to the Middle East - George Mitchell - following Mitchell's departure from the region last week after the first visit there as President Barack Obama's nominee.
Ambassador Beecroft gave a revealing interview to the Jordan Times on February 5 - coinciding with a report by Sandy Tolan in The Christian Science Monitor on February 4 - that the Roadmap negotiations to create a new Arab State between Israel and Jordan - the so called "two-state solution" - were on "their death bed".
This grim news had come in the wake of articles written by:
- John Bolton - former US ambassador to the United Nations - in The Washington Post on January 5;
- Daniel Pipes - American International Analyst - in The Jerusalem Post on January 6; and
- Professor Efraim Inbar - Director of the Begin-Sadat Center For Strategic Studies in Israel - in Ha'aretz on January 26.
These articles proposed that Jordan and Egypt resume their 1948-1967 occupation of the West Bank and Gaza respectively to fill the void created by the failure of the Roadmap negotiations to bring about the two-state solution by its highly publicised December 31, 2008. birth date.
Ambassador Beecroft's response to such a proposal was short and sweet:
Bolton is not part of the Government. He does not speak for the Government. The position of the US is very clear … the policy of the US is a two-state solution - Israeli and Palestinian states [that live] side by side.
That is the end of the issue … it has appeared in the press … but there is no official support for anything other than the two-state solution.
One would imagine that these were not "off the cuff" remarks made by a diplomat without the approval of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Ambassador Beecroft is not your ordinary run of the mill diplomat. Prior to taking up his position in Jordan on July 17, 2008, he had served as Executive Assistant to Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice, and Colin Powell, and as Special Assistant to Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage. He had also previously been stationed at the US embassies in Riyadh and Damascus.
Clearly his views echoed those of President Obama just one week earlier on Al Arabiya television:
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