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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 9 July, 2002, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
Straw puts case for interim state
Israeli army in action
The foreign secretary suggests an interim Palestinian state

An interim state of Palestine should be examined as part of efforts to end the "vicious cycle" of violence in the Middle East, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said.

In an interview with BBC News Online, Mr Straw said such a move would need to come alongside "very clear timelines" on issues such as a decision on borders of a future Palestinian state, refugees and Jewish settlements.


I think people are too twitchy about UK-American relationships

Jack Straw
But he said: "I think there is a lot to commend the idea. We haven't reached a final conclusion and the Palestinians take the view that it really depends on the detailed conditions.

"But there is now an international acceptance for the principle of a two-state solution, a secure state of Israel alongside a viable state of Palestine.

"One way of putting that into practice is to do what President Bush hinted at in his speech of a fortnight ago in which he talked about this state and then said there could be a transitional state of Palestine."

The foreign secretary acknowledges that there is a "desperately vicious spiral" which he says is "caused in the immediate past by this rising crescendo of suicide bombings".

'Vortex'

"What we have to do is work with the international community to move out of this terrible sort of vortex and try to turn things around."

Mr Straw also urged critics of US actions on a range of issues to "chill out", saying close allies often have disagreements which can be resolved.

He says Prime Minister Tony Blair's relationship with President Bush was "very deep, one based on mutual trust".

Mr Straw was
"I think people are too twitchy about UK-American relationships," he says.

The foreign secretary says the government at home is "going with the grain" of the people but highlights the need to "fight cynicism" in a right-wing press playing the role of opposition because of the "lousy" performance of the Conservatives.

Mr Straw also says the likes of Serbia, Croatia and Kosovo will be encouraged in their future efforts to join the European Union.

And he says he is confident that a deal for the first stage of EU enlargement can be agreed by the deadline of Christmas this year.

See also:

09 Jul 02 | UK Politics
08 Jul 02 | Middle East
05 Jul 02 | Middle East

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