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Middle East Quartet urges bold steps to revive stalled peace plan
www.chinaview.cn 2003-09-27 01:55:53

  UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 26 (Xinhuanet) -- Amid a fresh round of attack and counter-attack by the Israeli and Palestinian sides, the so-called diplomatic Quartet on Friday urged both parties in the region to stick to the Road Map it proposed.

  UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, host of this sideline meeting of the UN General Assembly, said that security for both Israelis and Palestinians can only be achieved by the political process.

  "It seems to me that bold steps, in keeping with the Road Map, are now necessary to salvage peace," he said. "Small steps, or interim solutions have not worked."

  He added that those steps should simultaneously address the core needs of both parties, security for Israelis and an end to occupation for the Palestinians, as described in the Middle East Road Map for peace.

  The four-party Quartet is sponsoring the Road Map peace plan, which calls for Israel and the Palestinians to take a series of parallel and reciprocal steps culminating in the achievement of two states living side by side in peace by 2005.

  To address concerns of Israel and Palestine, the Quartet elaborated its instruction for both party.

  "They call on Palestinians to take immediate, decisive steps against individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks," Annan said on behalf of the United Nations, the United States, the Russian Federation and the European Union (EU), which make up the Quartet.

  "In the context of international humanitarian law, they call on the Government of Israel to exert maximum efforts to avoid civilian casualties," he said. "The Quartet members reaffirm that, in accordance with the Road Map, settlement activity must stop."

  "The Quartet looks forward to continuing to work closely together, as well as in association with regional parties, to help achieve progress between Israelis and Palestinians as well as toward the goal of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East," Annan said.

  After reading out a statement for the Quartet, Annan made a brief speech in his capacity of the UN chief.

  "I am alarmed at the trend toward increasing violence and ever greater suffering among Israelis and Palestinians," he said. "The two parties seem unable to find their way out of the current quagmire without outside help."

  The UN chief said he regrets that "both of the parties have failed to take steps along this road. And the international community has been unable to induce the parties to move ahead."

  "The fragile peace process remains stalled, but facts on the ground are being created which make the vision of two states even more difficult to achieve," he said.

  He reminded the parties in the conflicting region, as well as the entire international community, that "the only alternative to the two-state solution is long-term conflict and instability."

  Striving to pull the peace process back on track, the Quartet met Friday at the UN headquarters in New York, on the sideline of the annual high-level debate of the UN General Assembly.

  Annan represented the world body at the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, US Secretary of State Colin Powell, and a European delegation including Foreign Minister Franco Frattini of Italy, which currently holds the EU Presidency, Chris Patten, External Relations Commissioner of the European Commission, and Javier Solana, EU High Representative for a Common Foreign and Security Policy. Enditem 

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