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Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs

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The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) deals with U.S. foreign policy and U.S. diplomatic relations with Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Regional policy issues that NEA handles include Iraq, Middle East peace, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and political and economic reform. Clickable Map 

Resolution Reached for Gaza Situation
Secretary Rice (Jan. 8):
"It is obviously a very serious situation in Gaza. And while our goal must be the stabilization and normalization of Gaza through the implementation of a durable and fully respected ceasefire and an end to all terrorist activities, I think that this resolution shows that the Council and the United Nations is indeed seized of the matter. This resolution is a step toward our goals. It reflects the international community’s concern about the circumstances in Gaza and its desire for a sustainable peace in Gaza." Full Text

Remarks at the United Nations Security Council Session on the Situation in the Middle East
Date: 01/06/2009 Location: New York City Description: Secretary speaks during a Security Council meeting about the situation in Gaza at United Nations Headquarters. © AP PhotoSecretary Rice (Jan. 6):"The United States is, of course, deeply concerned about the situation in Gaza, which is clearly worsening. We have been working around the clock to try and end the violence there. The ongoing attacks against Israel and the decision that Hamas made not to respect the previous period of calm shows us that when this ends there must be new arrangements in place, not a return to the status quo ante. It is imperative that any cease-fire is durable and sustainable, and that it ensures the safety and security of Israelis and Palestinians alike." Full Text

Situation in Gaza
Secretary Rice (Jan. 2):
"We are working toward a cease-fire that would not allow a reestablishment of the status quo ante where Hamas can continue to launch rockets out of Gaza. It is obvious that that cease-fire should take place as soon as possible, but we need a cease-fire that is durable and sustainable. I might note that it was Hamas that rejected the Egyptian and Arab calls for an extension of the tahadiya that Egypt had negotiated."  Full Text  | Press statement

U.S. Contributes $85 Million for Humanitarian Assistance to Palestinian Refugees (12/30)
The United States announces its plan to contribute $85 million to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for its 2009 appeals. Of the $85 million announced today, $25 million will go to UNRWA’s Emergency Appeal for the West Bank and Gaza; $60 million to UNRWA’s General Fund. Full Text

Situation in Gaza
Date: 12/30/2008 Location: Tanta, Egypt Description: Egyptian women march raising Palestinian flags as they protest in Tanta, north Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008, against the Israeli attacks against Hamas-ruled Gaza where over 350 people were killed.  © AP PhotoSecretary Rice (Dec. 27):
"The U.S. is deeply concerned about the escalating violence in Gaza. We strongly condemn the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and hold Hamas responsible for breaking the cease-fire and for the renewal of violence there." Full Text 

Farewell Ceremony for Assistant Secretary David Welch
Secretary Rice (Dec. 18):
"I have never known a diplomat who has better contacts in the region, who is more well-regarded in his region, than David Welch. David is a great Arabist and a great diplomat. Now, David and I also go back a long way because, in fact, I first met David Welch when we were on the NSC staff of George H.W. Bush together during the end of the Cold War and at the Gulf War I when we worked together, me from my Soviet and East European perch and David from Near Eastern Affairs, to, I think, bring a quite successful campaign to end at least Saddam Hussein’s effort to dominate his neighbor, Kuwait. And I’ve been pleased that together we have worked to finally end the tyranny of Saddam Hussein." Full Text

Middle East Digest
Middle East DigestThe "Middle East Digest" is a collection of excerpts from the U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefings that are related to U.S. foreign policy interests in the Middle East.


Special Briefing on the Humanitarian Situation in Gaza (Jan. 9, 2009)
U.S. Agency for International Development Mission Director to the West Bank and Gaza Howard Sumka and Elizabeth Hopkins, Director for Assistance, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs will update the press on the humanitarian situation in Gaza on Friday, January 9, 2009. This on-the-record, off-camera, telephonic briefing will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the Department of State Press Briefing Room (Room 2209). Full Text

 Dedication Ceremony for New U.S. Embassy in Baghdad
Date: 01/05/2009 Location: Baghdad, Iraq Description:
U.S. Amb. Ryan Crocker, Iraqi President  Jala lTalabani, and Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte at dedication ceremony for new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.  © U.S. Embassy BaghdadDeputy Secretary Negroponte (Jan. 5): "It is from here that the men and women, civilian and military, will help build the new Iraq."  Full Text | Press release  View Video | Photos

 In Focus: Peace in the Middle East

Non-Governmental Organizations
Information about applying for a license to work in Iran.

Iraq Reports
Weekly; quarterly: 1227, 2207; national strategy.

Reform in the Region
--Middle East Partnership Initiative.
--Forum for the Future

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