Viewing cable 02ROME3240
Title: BERLUSCONI BACKS THE PRESIDENT'S JUNE 24 SPEECH ON

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
02ROME32402002-07-03 07:48:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Rome
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L ROME 003240 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/02/2012 
TAGS: PREL KPAL IT IS XF
SUBJECT: BERLUSCONI BACKS THE PRESIDENT'S JUNE 24 SPEECH ON 
THE MIDDLE EAST 
 
REF: ROME 3217 
 
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CLASSIFIED BY: ACTING POL MC GARY ROBBINS FOR REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D) 
 
¶1. (C) SUMMARY: ACCORDING TO HIS DEPUTY DIPLOMATIC ADVISOR, 
PM AND ACTING FM BERLUSCONI REACTED VERY POSITIVELY TO THE 
PRESIDENT'S JUNE 24 SPEECH ON THE MIDDLE EAST.  BERLUSCONI 
AGREED THAT THE PA NEEDED A NEW LEADERSHIP, AND STRESSED THE 
IMPORTANCE OF INSTITUTIONAL AND ECONOMIC REFORM FOR 
PALESTINIANS.  ON THE INTERNATIONAL PEACE CONFERENCE, 
BERLUSCONI, WHO HAD EXPRESSED SERIOUS INTEREST IN HOSTING THE 
CONFERENCE THIS SUMMER, HAS CONCLUDED THAT THE CURRENT 
CLIMATE WAS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR HOLDING A SUCCESSFUL PEACE 
CONFERENCE.  END SUMMARY. 
 
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ON THE PRESIDENT'S SPEECH AND ARAFAT 
------------------------------------ 
 
¶2. (C) ON JULY 2, POLOFF MET PAOLO DIONISI, BERLUSCONI'S 
DEPUTY DIPLOMATIC ADVISOR, WHO ACCOMPANIED THE ITALIAN PM ON 
THE JUNE 26-27 G8 SUMMIT.  DIONISI SAID THAT BERLUSCONI 
PRAISED THE PRESIDENT'S SPEECH AS "STRONG AND ENGAGED" AND AS 
THE FIRST PUBLIC CALL FOR A CHANGE IN PA LEADERSHIP.  THE 
METAPHOR BERLUSCONI USED IS ONE HE BORROWED FROM AVRAHAM 
BURG, PRESIDENT OF THE ISRAELI KNESSET, WHOM HE HAD MET IN 
ROME ON JUNE 19: "THE ISRAELIS ASK THEMSELVES WHETHER THEY 
DON'T RUN THE RISK OF FALLING INTO A SITUATION WHERE THEY 
NEGOTIATE THE SALE OF GOODS WITH THE OWNER OF THE SHOP, REACH 
AN AGREEMENT ON THE COST WITH HIM, AND THEN HIS EMPLOYEES 
REFUSE TO DELIVER THESE GOODS."  BERLUSCONI STRESSED THAT THE 
PALESTINIANS DESPERATELY NEEDED INSTITUTIONAL AND ECONOMIC 
REFORMS.  HE CALLED FOR A NEW PALESTINIAN LEADERSHIP AND FOR 
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ELECTIONS TO BE HELD AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.  MEANWHILE HOWEVER, 
UNTIL A NEW PALESTINIAN LEADERSHIP WAS ELECTED BY THE 
PALESTINIANS, THERE WAS NO ALTERNATIVE TO DEALING WITH ARAFAT 
IN HIS CAPACITY AS THE ELECTED LEADER OF THE PA, STRESSED 
BERLUSCONI. 
 
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ON THE INTERNATIONAL PEACE CONFERENCE 
------------------------------------- 
 
¶3. (C) BERLUSCONI STILL BELIEVED IN THE IMPORTANCE OF AN 
INTERNATIONAL PEACE CONFERENCE, AND WAS STILL WILLING TO HOST 
IT AND PAY FOR IT.  HOWEVER, BERLUSCONI NO LONGER FELT THAT 
THE CURRENT CLIMATE WAS THE RIGHT ONE TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL 
CONFERENCE.  HE FELT THAT THE PA DID NOT CURRENTLY HAVE THE 
KIND OF RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP NEEDED FOR A SUCCESSFUL 
CONFERENCE, AND REEMPHASIZED THE NEED FOR THE PALESTINIANS TO 
ELECT A NEW LEADERSHIP AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. 
 
¶4. (C) COMMENT: THE JUNE 26-27 G8 SUMMIT IN KANANASKIS MARKED 
A METAMORPHOSIS IN BERLUSCONI'S POSITION ON ARAFAT (REF) AND 
ON THE INTERNATIONAL PEACE CONFERENCE, WHICH HE HAD 
PREVIOUSLY STAUNCHLY SUPPORTED AND OFFERED TO HOST.  AMONG 
THE LEADERS PRESENT AT THE G8 SUMMIT, BERLUSCONI APPEARS TO 
HAVE EXPRESSED SOME OF THE STRONGEST SUPPORT FOR THE 
PRESIDENT'S PLAN ON THE MIDDLE EAST.  ALTHOUGH HE IS NOW 
STEPPING BACK FROM HIS NEAR-TERM PLAN FOR AN ERICE 
CONFERENCE, BERLUSCONI WILL CONTINUE TO SEEK OPPORTUNITIES TO 
PLAY A HELPFUL, HIGH-PROFILE, ROLE.  END COMMENT. 
SEMBLER 
 
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 2002ROME03240 - Classification: CONFIDENTIAL