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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 November, 2003, 18:46 GMT
UN endorses Mid-East roadmap
Arafat attending Friday prayers
The resolution calls on all parties to fulfil their obligations
The UN Security Council has approved a Russian-led resolution endorsing the stalled Middle East peace plan.

The resolution calls on the parties to fulfil their obligations under the plan, which sets out the creation of a Palestinian state by 2005.

Russia said it wanted the resolution to give "extra momentum" to the roadmap which has come close to collapsing.

Meanwhile, US President George Bush urged Israel not to prejudice peace with "walls and fences".

Mr Bush - who has in the past objected to a fence that Israel is building through the West Bank to prevent Palestinian militant attacks - was speaking on the first full day of his state visit to Britain.

"Israel should freeze settlement construction, dismantle unauthorised outposts, end the daily humiliation of the Palestinian people and not prejudice final negotiations with... walls and fences," Mr Bush said.

He also said Palestinians should adopt peaceful means in their dealings with Israel, and urged Arab states to end anti-Israeli incitement in their media and cut off funding for terrorism.

Pressure on roadmap

The BBC's Greg Barrow, at the UN, says questions are already being asked about why it has taken the Security Council so long to give the roadmap its blessing.

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin is meeting Jordan's King Abdullah II at the Kremlin.

Some have even suggested that unanimity on this subject was only achieved at a time when it had become clear that the road map is all but dead.

American diplomats continue to insist that a first step is actioned by the parties on the ground, our correspondent adds.

This view is echoed by Israeli diplomats who said that more UN resolutions would not provide a solution to the Middle East problem.

A quartet of international mediators drew up the roadmap; the Russian Federation, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations.

Russia-Jordan talks

The moves came as President Vladimir Putin held talks with Jordan's King Abdullah II at the Kremlin.

"During our meeting we will discuss bilateral relations, our economic relations, problems of a settlement in the Middle East, and issues related to Iraq." Mr Putin told reporters.

Meanwhile, King Abdullah praised the "exceptional role" played by Russia in strengthening stability in the Middle East and in "supporting peace and stability in our region".

Mr Putin and King Abdullah were also set to discuss the latest developments in Iraq as well as bilateral co-operation between Moscow and Amman.

Israel and the Palestinians



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