Friday, April 16, 2004

Potemkin Coalition loses another facade I've heard a few people argue that Bush's proposal to Sharon was signed off on, or similar to Great Britains. Like most current winger excuses...that's wrong. Many may remember that Bush committing to the "Road Map" and emphasizing it as touted by the Blair Government as a concession they obtained from the Bush Administration in return for the UK's support of the Iraqi invasion. Well, not really. Tony Blair will today attempt to restore British influence in Washington when he warns President George Bush that the Middle East "road map" remains the only viable option for achieving a lasting political settlement. Less than 48 hours after Mr Bush spurned his plea for an "even-handed" approach to the Middle East, the prime minister will make clear in private that Britain cannot sign up to Ariel Sharon's unilateral plan which was all but endorsed by the president. As Blairites admitted that the president's declaration marked a personal setback for the prime minister, foreign secretary Jack Straw last night underlined Britain's unease. He said: "President Bush ... has to make his own judgments. We make our own." The prime minister, who began his two-day visit to the US last night with a meeting in New York with UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, will today put on a brave face when he says that key elements of the Sharon plan, such as the pledge to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, can be reconciled with the road map. But well placed Blairites made clear yesterday that Mr Bush's announcement had been "uncomfortable" for him. Britain's unease was underlined on Wednesday night when Downing Street issued a carefully worded statement which welcomed aspects of Mr Sharon's statement, such as withdrawal from Gaza. But the statement said nothing about abandonment of central elements of the road map, such as treating Palestinians as partners and calling for the vast majority of Israeli settlements to be removed from the territories occupied since 1967. It should also be noted that whenever Bush and Blair get together, its bad news for Blair politically.
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