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Saturday, 30 March, 2002, 20:10 GMT
Bush tells Arafat to stop militants
Palestinian man surrenders to Israeli forces in Ramallah
Israeli troops and tanks poured into Ramallah
US President George Bush has urged the besieged Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, to do more to stop attacks on Israelis by militants.

"I believe Chairman Arafat can do a lot more to prevent attacks," Mr Bush said, in his first comments on the crisis since Israeli troops stormed Mr Arafat's compound in Ramallah on Friday.

He's got to make it absolutely clear that the Palestinian Authority does not support these terrorist activities

George Bush on Yasser Arafat

"He needs to stand up and condemn in Arabic these attacks," Mr Bush said, after making a flurry of phone calls to world leaders to discuss the crisis.

Speaking from his Texas ranch, Mr Bush said he had been assured by the Israeli Government that Mr Arafat "won't be harmed".

Referring to Mr Arafat's security apparatus, Mr Bush said "they have got to do a much better job of preventing people from coming into Israel to blow up innocent people".

While acknowledging Israel's need to defend itself, he also urged the Israeli Government to "make sure that there is a path to peace".

Plea for regional efforts

Leaders in the region must do more to help fight terrorism, Mr Bush said.

Bush discussing Mideast crisis by phone
President Bush: US peace mission will continue
"The Iranians must step up and stop sponsoring terrorism. The Syrians must participate... there has got to be a united effort against terror."

He said he was pleased that Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah had "spoken out so forcefully for normalisation". Earlier this week Arab leaders backed a peace plan put forward by the crown prince.

Mr Bush has asked the US special envoy Anthony Zinni to stay in the region to continue his efforts to broker a ceasefire.

UN resolution

The United States on Saturday joined other UN Security Council members in approving a resolution urging Israel to withdraw from Palestinian cities.

It was the second time in a month that Washington - a staunch ally of Israel - had supported UN action on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, having for years vetoed any proposal critical of Israel.

We had hoped for a stronger text ... Nevertheless, the Palestinian side will abide by the provisions of the resolution

Nasser al-Kidwa
Palestinian ambassador to UN

On 12 March, the Security Council approved a resolution submitted by Washington which called for separate Israeli and Palestinian states in the region, as well as an immediate ceasefire.

Israel's assault on Yasser Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah on Friday prompted the Security Council to hold an emergency debate, which continued through the night.

UN Resolution 1402 - proposed by Norway - was approved on Saturday by 14 votes to 0 after the marathon session.

The resolution

  • Calls upon both sides to move immediately towards a meaningful ceasefire
  • Calls for the withdrawal of Israel troops from Palestinian cities, including Ramallah
  • Urges both sides to co-operate fully with US special envoy Anthony Zinni, who has been trying to broker a ceasefire
  • Demands an immediate halt to "all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction.

In a rare disagreement with the United States, Israel's ambassador to the UN, Yehuda Lancry, criticised the resolution, saying it was not strong enough in condemning Palestinian suicide bombings.

Speaking after the vote, he said Israeli troops would not withdraw from Ramallah, where they have trapped the Palestinian leader inside his shell-blasted headquarters.

Syria boycotted the vote, arguing that the resolution failed to condemn Israeli attacks, while mentioning suicide bombings against Israelis.

But Palestinians cautiously welcomed the resolution.

"The resolution is positive on condition that it is immediately applied by the Israeli Government," said Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo.

The BBC's Jon Leyne reports from Washington
"Congress sides with Israel in these things"
US President George Bush
"All leaders in the world must stand up against terror"
See also:

30 Mar 02 | Middle East
US plea to halt Mid-East carnage
28 Mar 02 | Middle East
Bush condemns 'callous' killing
28 Mar 02 | Middle East
Arabs offer Israelis peace plan
28 Mar 02 | Middle East
Arafat row overshadows summit successes
27 Feb 02 | Middle East
What is in the Saudi peace initiative?
30 Mar 02 | Middle East
Israel traps Arafat in ravaged HQ
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