Jerusalem, Jan.14 (ANI): Israel and the US engaged are engaged in a public spat over events leading to the US abstention in last Thursday's UN Security Council resolution vote on the Gaza crisis.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the US State Department and White House spokesmen said that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's claim that he had essentially gotten US President George W. Bush to twist Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's arm and abstain on the measure was simply untrue.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Olmert's story of what happened in his conversation with Bush was "just 100 percent, totally, completely not true," while White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto said: "There are inaccuracies."
During a speech to local authority heads in Ashkelon on Monday, Olmert said that Rice had been embarrassed when she was ordered to back down from supporting the resolution she had prepared, after Olmert intervened with Bush. Olmert said he had called Bush and interrupted a lecture he was giving in Philadelphia to ensure that the US did not vote for the resolution.
McCormack said that Rice had decided as early as Wednesday that she would not veto a resolution, after Arab ministers rejected an initial effort by the US to push for a weaker presidential statement from the Security Council. That left her with the option of either voting for the final text or abstaining.
He said Rice had spoken with Bush both before and after his conversation with Olmert, but insisted "with 100% assurance that her intention, again, going into the conversation with the president was that she was going to abstain."
An official in the Prime Minister's Office tersely responded to the comments from Washington, saying "the Prime Minister's comments on Monday were a correct account of what took place." (ANI)