Letter Chides Rice on Summit Planning

Former diplomats call for more leadership, talks with Hamas
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2007 10:46 AM CDT
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, left, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, shake hands following a press conference after their meeting in the West Bank...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – As Condoleezza Rice prepares for next month's Mideast peace summit, a group of former diplomats have warned her that the opportunity may be squandered by poor planning and weak strategy. The Guardian reports on an unprecedented letter to Rice from top former State Department figures, saying that "the chances of a perceived failure. . . are profound" for US-led talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The letter accuses Rice of abdicating her leadership role and allowing Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas to set the agenda. And the writers say the Bush administration's refusal to negotiate with Syria and Hamas makes any peace in Gaza impossible. Some of the letter's most prominent signatories include Thomas Pickering, the former undersecretary of state in the Bush pere administration.