[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 16 December, 2004, 11:42 GMT
Israel FM calls for peace summit
Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom
Shalom is the first minister to endorse the roadmap in some time
Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom has called for a new international summit to relaunch the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

He proposed a gathering along the lines of last year's Aqaba summit in Jordan when the "roadmap" was launched.

Mr Shalom also made a direct appeal to Syrian President Bashar Assad to prove his peaceful intentions towards Israel.

He also called on the Syrian authorities to close the headquarters

of militant groups based in Damascus.

The death of Arafat has given us an opportunity for 2005, an opportunity we should not miss
Silvan Shalom
Mr Shalom made the comments in a speech at an academic conference in the Israeli town of Herzliya on Wednesday evening.

Is the first time a senior Israeli official has endorsed the roadmap peace plan since Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon put forward his unilateral plan to pull Israeli settlements out of the Gaza Strip and a small part of the West Bank, correspondents say.

Mr Sharon is to address the same conference on Thursday evening.


"The death of Arafat has given us an opportunity for 2005, an opportunity we should not miss," Mr Shalom said.

He called on Palestinians to stop terrorism, and said Israel must do its part in dismantling some settlements and withdrawing its troops to positions held before the start of the intifada in September 2000.

Mahmoud Abbas, the favourite to succeed Yasser Arafat as Palestinian leader, has also spoken in favour of an international conference to re-launch the roadmap. He suggested Cairo.

On Tuesday, Mr Abbas called on Palestinians to end the violence, and to express their opposition to the Israeli occupation through "popular and social means".

Syrian track

Mr Shalom said President Assad could prove his peaceful intentions by returning the remains of Eli Cohen, the Israeli spy executed in Syria in 1965.

"As soon as Syria stops its support of terrorism, we must immediately go to the negotiating table," he said, welcoming recent peace overtures from the Syrian president.

In late November, Mr Assad said he was willing to resume talks with Israel without conditions.

Israeli-Syrian talks collapsed in 2000 after a disagreement about who would control the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Israel captured the Golan Heights in the 1967 war and subsequently annexed them.

Israel and the Palestinians



Palestinian women sit on a roof top of the home of a Palestinian family in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on 20 November 2006. Human shields
Palestinians adopt a new tactic to deter Israeli attacks, but this is a high-risk strategy





News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific