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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-315604 U-N/Middle East Quartet (L-O)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=5/4/2004

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=U-N / MIDDLE EAST QUARTET (L-O)

NUMBER=2-315604

BYLINE=PETER HEINLEIN

DATELINE=UNITED NATIONS

INTRO: The so-called quartet of peace mediators have reaffirmed their

faith in the "Road Map" plan for a settlement of the Israeli Palestinian

dispute. Peter Heinlein reports from U-N headquarters.

TEXT: U-N Secretary General Kofi Annan called representatives of the other three members of the quartet - Russia, the United States and the European Union - to New York, amid concern that their "road map" for peace had been mortally wounded by recent events.

After a two-hour closed-door session Tuesday, Mr. Annan said the quartet

views the present Middle East situation with great concern. But sitting

alongside Secretary of State Colin Powell, Russian Foreign Minister

Sergei Lavrov and E-U Foreign Policy chief Javier Solana, he said all

favor the two-state solution outlined in the "road map."

///ANNAN ACT///

We reaffirm our commitment to our shared vision of two states living

side by side in peace and security. One of those states will be Israel,

and the other a viable, democratic, sovereign and contiguous Palestine.

///END ACT///

The quartet applauded Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to end

the occupation of Gaza, even though Mr. Sharon's own party rejected the

proposal in a referendum Sunday.

The statement read by Secretary General Annan called for a prompt

handover of evacuated lands to the Palestinian Authority.

///ANNAN ACT///

This initiative, which must lead to a full Israeli withdrawal and

complete end of occupation in Gaza, can be a step towards achieving the

two-state vision, and could restart progress on the "road map."

///END ACT///

Speaking to reporters afterward, Secretary of State Powell sought to

reassure Palestinians that the Bush administration had not abandoned

their hope for a separate state. Mr. Powell said the Arab world and the

Palestinians should be reassured.

///POWELL ACT///

They know the president has not abandoned them, has not abandoned the

hope for the creation of a Palestinian state, he has not abandoned the

vision he laid out in June of 2002.

///END ACT///

Secretary Powell said he looks on recent developments in the Middle East

as an opportunity to be seized.

Secretary General Annan told reporters afterward that he believes the

road map for peace may be in distress, but is not dead. He noted that

the communiqué issued after Tuesday's meeting pushes the peace process

forward in ways that have not been done before. (Signed)

NEB/NYC/PFH/FC/KBK



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