BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 You are in: World: Middle East
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
Monday, 12 November, 2001, 11:32 GMT
US promises new Mid-East initiative
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat waits to address UN General Assembly
Palestinians have come closer to their aim of statehood
US Secretary of State Colin Powell has said that Washington will work actively on Middle East peace over the coming weeks, producing fresh ideas.

Mr Powell was speaking after talks at the United Nations in New York with the Israeli Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.


We welcome the positive positions taken by President George W Bush and other leaders who have called for the establishment of the Palestinian state

Yasser Arafat
The American secretary of state said Washington was sending a "powerful signal" to the world that it sought a new Middle East where Israel and the Palestinians could live side by side in their own states.

He gave no indication of what the United States had in mind.

Mr Powell also told reporters that sooner or later President George W Bush would meet Mr Arafat, although the president decided not to hold discussions with the Palestinian leader over the weekend.

Diplomatic round

In a speech to the UN General Assembly on Saturday, Mr Bush said Washington was willing to support the idea of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Correspondents say his remarks have triggered an energetic new round of diplomacy.

After his separate meetings with Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat, Mr Powell also held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, EU foreign policy adviser Javier Solana and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

A short statement issued after the talks said the four would continue working with the Israelis and Palestinians to help implement a peace agreement.

This, they said, should be based on recommendations set out by George Mitchell, the former US senator who called for a ceasefire, a cooling-off period and then a return to peace negotiations.

One official said the Mitchell Report was the only road map to peace in the Middle East and the challenge was to find a way of encouraging the Israelis and Palestinians to start following this route.

Significant step

In his speech to the General Assembly on Sunday, Mr Arafat praised President Bush's remarks as a significant step on the path towards ending the conflict and the establishment of peace in the Middle East.

US President George W Bush addresses the UN General Assembly
Mr Bush spoke of the idea of two states

But he also called for renewed international engagement in the peace process and the deployment of international monitors - something Israel and the United States have so far opposed.

"The current Israeli Government continues the aggression against the Palestinian people," Mr Arafat said.

Palestinian delegates have not concealed their disappointment that Mr Bush refused to meet them.

But they have welcomed what they see as the growing international acceptance that they are entitled to an independent state.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Greg Barrow at the United Nations
"Small changes make a big difference in the Middle East peace process"
See also:

10 Nov 01 | Americas
Bush demands action on terror
10 Nov 01 | Middle East
Israel arrests 12 over shooting
10 Nov 01 | Middle East
US upbeat on Saudi support
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories