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Thursday, 18 July, 2002, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
UN calls for new Mid-East strategy
Palestinian children pick through rubble of building destroyed by Israeli warplanes
The UN said violence and recriminations must stop

The United Nations co-ordinator for the Middle East peace process has said that without the firm involvement of the international community there is little or no prospect for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israeli rescue workers at the scene of Tel Aviv double suicide bombing
Larsen said events in the region were being driven by those not wanting solutions
Terje Roed Larsen was speaking at the seminar on the Middle East in Copenhagen, echoing a general tone of pessimism at the gathering.

An opening address from the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said that in many ways the situation in the Middle East now is worse than it has been at any time since 1967.

And Mr Larsen said that events in the region continued to be driven by those who are doing their best to prevent a solution.

International involvement

Any spirit of peace that may have existed is being drowned out, he said, by violence, recriminations and distrust.

Palestinian suicide attacks had convinced Israelis that the Palestinians do not want peace, and the excessive use of force by Israel had equally convinced the Palestinians that Israel advocated only aggression, he said.

One thing that all speakers and Israeli, Palestinian and international officials agreed on was that the only way out of the impasse is for strong international involvement.

But Mr Larsen said that the strategy had to change.

Endgame

Efforts would have to begin at the endgame, as he put it.

He said there was consensus that the conflict must end and that it was necessary for that agreement between all the parties to be made firm and public.

From there, he said, the international community and those involved can work backwards to achieve the goal.

But he warned it was vital that any agreements be guaranteed by the international community.

Israel must know, he said, that if it reaches final agreement there will be no more claims and no more rejection.


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