Olmert, Rice put misunderstandings behind them


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Ehud Olmert and Condoleezza Rice agreed to put their "misunderstandings" behind them during a Thursday telephone call.

"The two agreed to put behind them the events of recent days and the misunderstandings between them and continue the good working relationship that they have enjoyed over the years," said a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office. The discussion came during a call the secretary of state made to the Israeli prime minister to discuss the Gaza situation.

The call came after Rice had called "fiction" Olmert’s claim that Rice "was left shamed" when the United States decided to abstain on a Jan. 8 U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza conflict.

"A resolution that she prepared and arranged, and in the end she did not vote in favor," Olmert had said.

Olmert said he learned on the day of the vote that the United States would line up behind the resolution.

"I said ‘get me President Bush on the phone,’ " Olmert said. "They said he was in the middle of giving a speech in Philadelphia. I said I didn’t care, I need to talk to him now. He got off the podium and spoke to me. I told him the United States could not vote in favor. It cannot vote in favor of such a resolution. He immediately called the secretary of state and told her not to vote in favor."

Rice had responded that she hoped Olmert had been "quoted out of context."

"The president and I talked about the resolution, about the importance of allowing the council to send a signal even though the United States believed that the resolution was premature," she said. "And I had made it very clear that I thought the resolution was premature, and there were also concerns about a resolution that had Israel, a member-state of the United Nations, and Hamas, which is a terrorist organization — you don’t ever want there to be any equating those two.

"And so we talked. We talked about abstention as a good option. And I was quite aware of the president’s call to Prime Minister Olmert. Of course, Prime Minister Olmert is not at all aware of what the president said to me. And I repeat, his rendering of this is fiction — if, in fact, that was his rendering of it. And I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps it’s not exactly what he said."


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