State Department spokesman Sean McCormack has been responsive and cordial in his dealings with us. I spoke with him this week at the end of what must have been a long day for him. He fielded a few questions I had about the upcoming, incredibly misguided peace conference scheduled next month in Annapolis. Rick Richman explains a few of the basic elisions on which the conference is predicated. Hillel Halkin notes some of the games the PA plays. Yossi Alpher sees “a failure foretold.”
I had an easy quesion for Sean this past Tuesday night. I asked him who would be attending the peace conference. What countries from the region would be represented at the meeting? Among other things, he said invitations hadn’t been issued yet. Would those in attendance honor President Bush’s commitment that they renounce terrorism and honor Israel’s right to exist? He said they would. I said it would be an extremely small conference if that was the case. He said that the department would be guided by the criteria President Bush had laid out for attendance.
He mentioned that the State Department had recently joined the blogosphere. The State Department’s blog is the suggestively titled Dipnote. On the site the department explains what it is up to and allows readers to comment. I wrote Sean that I was impresed the site allowed for comments and hoped they didn’t have to spend too much time cleaning up. Sean writes:
Thus far, we have had some snarky comments but very few profane or hateful comments. I hope the State blog will become one more place where we might have reasoned discussions about important foreign policy issues. I also hope it opens the aperture on what we do at State and some of the reasons why we do certain things.
In the “question of the week,” Frederick Jones asks whether the creation of a Palestinan state is feasible. I think the answer to that question should be obvious to folks who have been paying attention. In any event, interested readers should check out the site and avail themselves of the opportunity to weigh in directly with the department.
UPDATE: Today’s news brings word of the box in which the State Department has placed itself. It’s the potential Arab invitees who have laid out a few conditions of their own: “Arab league sets terms for attending peace conference with Israel.” I would guess that the Arabs will have more luck with their conditions than President Bush will have with his.
JOHN adds: Here is a bit more information: Syria isn’t coming, although Assad apparently claims to have been invited.
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