.contact us |.about us
Home BizChina Newsphoto Cartoon LanguageTips Metrolife DragonKids SMS Edu
news... ...
             Focus on... ...

US, Palestinians jostle on UN Mideast resolution
( 2001-03-28 16:41 ) (7 )

The United States and Palestinians took two steps forward and one step back on Tuesday in their effort to resolve disputes on a Security Council resolution calling for an end to six months of Israeli-Palestinian clashes.

After nearly five days of marathon negotiations, diplomats said no tentative agreement had been reached yet as Washington was contemplating the new proposals, including some from France, on a compromise resolution by Western Europeans.

The Palestinians and their seven supporters on the council were reviewing the new language, and some said it was not tough enough on a provision that would request UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to consult both sides on "setting up a protection mechanism" for Palestinian civilians.

At one point, chief Palestinian delegate Nasser al-Kidwa said negotiators were getting close. Jamaican Ambassador Patricia Durrant, part of a small group of negotiators, said, "It looks good."

But then the sessions resumed amid more uncertainty.


At issue is a repeat call by the Palestinians and their supporters to express willingness for an observer force, or at least leave the door open for one by agreeing on an unspecified "mechanism" to protect civilians.

The United States, Israel's ally, has been negotiating intensely on a text that would not commit the Security Council to any specific action without the agreement of Israel and the Palestinians. The draft no longer mentions observers.

Al-Kidwa, who missed his self-imposed deadline for a vote on the resolution before the Arab League summit opened on Tuesday in Amman, Jordan, said he hoped for council action well before the conference closes on Wednesday.

Annan, at the summit, pressed Palestinian President Yasser Arafat not to push for a vote in the council if it meant a US veto, in order not to start off on the wrong foot with the new administration of US President George W. Bush, diplomats said.

He urged Arafat on Monday to tell his delegates in New York to continue negotiating, which they did through the night.

"We are not trying to produce a Palestinian text," al-Kidwa said, but were negotiating on the basis of European proposals.

But al-Kidwa told reporters that talks could not drag on indefinitely and that he and his supporters were keeping open the option of reviving their demand for an observer force.


Israel Ambassador Yehuda Lancry called the resolution "totally superfluous and ineffective," but said he was grateful an observer force would not be approved. Instead, he said the council should encourage both parties to resume talks.

Lancry said the resolution should speak not only about the protection of Palestinians but also bear in mind attacks against Israelis, such as the baby girl shot on Monday and two car bombs that exploded in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

"Once Yasser Arafat puts an end to the violence, that is the best protection for the Palestinians," Lancry said.

At least 350 Palestinians, 67 Israelis and 13 Israeli Arabs have been killed in six months of violence between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers.

A resolution in the 15-member council needs nine votes in favor and no veto from its five permanent members. A measure calling for a UN observer force failed in December because it obtained only eight votes, sparing Washington the use of its veto.

The latest draft calls on Israel and the Palestinians to implement promptly and without preconditions the agreement reached at a mid-October summit at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. It lists what both sides agreed to then, including issuing "public statements unequivocally calling for an end to violence."

The draft calls for the "protection of all civilians," and expresses grave concern at the expansion of settlement in Palestinian territories. It also calls for an end to the closure of crossings to Israel proper and says Israel should transfer to the Palestinian Authority taxes it has withheld.

In urging a resumption of Middle East peace negotiations, the draft resolution "takes into consideration developments in previous discussions between the two sides."

In deference to Israel, it says both sides should reach a final settlement on the "basis of their previous agreements."

The Palestinians have been demanding a resumption of talks where negotiations ended under former Prime Minister Ehud Barak. But Israel's new prime minister, Ariel Sharon, has said negotiations should be based on prior agreements.




        .contact us |.about us
  Copyright By chinadaily.com.cn. All rights reserved