Shaath says Mitchell report should be base for negotiations
Palestine-Israel, Politics, 5/16/2001
The Palestinian official in charge of planning affairs in the Palestinian Authority Nabil Shaath on Tuesday urged the US President George Bush to strengthen the Mitchell Committee report which calls for ending violence in the Palestinian territories, noting that such a step will help revive the negotiations.
Shaath said in an editorial in the Washington Post daily that the restoration of peace and stability in the region requires changes in the current position like "withdrawal of Israel's army from populated Palestinian areas; a halt to Israeli settlement expansion; implementation of existing interim agreements; and relief from Israel's economic suffocation of the Palestinians."
Shaath considered that such steps stated by the report of the five- member Mitchell committee which is chaired by former US Senator George Bush is the only way to end violence in the occupied territories.
Shaath described Mitchell's report as a reasonable way to return back to the table of negotiations and urged Bush to support him officially.
He refused Sharon's repeated demands on the need to halt the Palestinian Intifada before resuming the negotiations, and expressed his doubts in the adherence of the Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to peace.
On the other hand, the US secretary of State Colin Powell stressed last week that the report of the committee might be the base for a new initiative for peace in the Middle East, but Washington refrained from commenting in detail until the Palestinians and Israel give their replies officially.
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