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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 26 March, 2003, 00:42 GMT
West must show Mid-East 'resolve'
Palestinian supporters of Iraq in Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip
Many Palestinians see Saddam as an ally against Israel
UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said it is hypocritical for the West to demand Iraqi compliance with UN Security Council resolutions while appearing to hesitate over resolutions concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He told the BBC that he himself had been guilty of double standards "to a degree" but he promised that a new international peace plan, the so-called "roadmap", was close to realisation.

It only depended on a new Palestinian cabinet being sworn in and the Palestinian parliament giving its approval, he said.

Mr Straw said he understood concern in the Arab world about what he called "injustice against the Palestinians".

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
It's our responsibility, yes, to deal with Iraq but also, yes, to deal with the Israel-Palestine crisis
Jack Straw
"There is a real concern too that the West has been guilty of double standards," Mr Straw said, "on the one hand saying the United Nations Security Council resolutions on Iraq must be implemented, on the other hand, sometimes appearing rather quixotic over the implementation of resolutions about Israel and Palestine."

On continuing Iraqi resistance, Mr Straw said that at least some of the hostility encountered by coalition troops was inspired by this perception of double standards, though he added it was also rooted in fear of retaliation by the regime of Saddam Hussein.


"It's our responsibility, yes, to deal with Iraq but also, yes, to deal with the Israel-Palestine crisis," said Mr Straw.

The new Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, must form a government within weeks.

Shortly before his appointment, US President George W Bush said the roadmap for peace would be published once a Palestinian premier with real powers took office.

The roadmap, created jointly by a quartet of the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union, envisions the launch of a Palestinian state by 2005.

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