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I got bush to shame Rice

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I got Bush to ‘shame’ Rice

By Ron Kampeas · January 12, 2009

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Ehud Olmert reportedly said that he persuaded President Bush to abstain from a U.N. Security Council call for a cease-fire, leaving Condoleezza Rice "shamed."

"She was left shamed," AFP, the French news agency, quoted the Israeli prime minister as telling an audience in Ashkelon on Monday, referring to the U.S. secretary of state. "A resolution that she prepared and arranged, and in the end she did not vote in favor."

The United States abstained in the Jan. 8 vote calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza war, but did not exercise its right as one of five permanent members of the council to veto the resolution. Rice later said the resolution, which is binding, had positive elements, including assigning blame to Hamas for the war. However, the United States did not agree with its call for an "immediate" cease-fire, she said, preferring to focus on negotiations in Cairo that were likelier to meet Israel's demands for an end to Hamas rocket fire and weapons smuggling.

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

"In the night between Thursday and Friday, when the secretary of state wanted to lead the vote on a cease-fire at the Security Council, we did not want her to vote in favour," AFP quoted Olmert as saying. "I said 'get me President Bush on the phone'. 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."

A report last week in the conservative Weekly Standard said Rice favored the resolution, but was overruled by Bush. AFP quoted a State Department official as denying the report, saying Rice favored an abstention all along.

The U.S. failure to veto the resolution drew criticism from several Jewish organizations.