Spanish FM: We Were Afraid Israel Would Thwart Peace Plan

The diplomatic initiative for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement was not coordinated ahead of time with Israel for fear that its government would try to thwart it, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos said. Speaking in a phone interview with Haaretz, Moratinos said he updated the Americans and European Union Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana Friday morning, and heard no objections. Moratinos said the details of the plan were not agreed on ahead of time with the U.S., but the general idea had been discussed with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice a "long time ago." Solana said he hoped the U.S. would lead the initiative and that "if they have better ideas, I am ready to accept them."

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Thursday that Israel rejected the new peace initiative out of hand, but Moratinos said that at the end of a "good" telephone conversation with Livni, "it was fine." He noted the plan contained nothing "that Israel would want to reject." He rejected Israeli criticism of the Spanish government's diplomatic activity. He said the situation in the region affected his country's economy and security and it had no intention of standing idly by. He also noted that Spain had sent 1,000 soldiers to the UN force in Lebanon and that two Spanish civilians had been kidnapped and subsequently released in Gaza.