|VOICE OF AMERICA|
SLUG: 2-315604 U-N/Middle East Quartet (L-O)
TITLE=U-N / MIDDLE EAST QUARTET (L-O)
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."
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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)
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|