Mideast summit will not focus on roadmap: Israel (AFP-FRANCE PRESSE) JERUSALEM, ISRAEL 02/03/05 6:54 AM ET)
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JERUSALEM (AFP) - The landmark Middle East summit in Egypt next week
will not involve political negotiations on the troubled roadmap peace
plan, a source close to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told AFP.
"This summit will be an occasion for declarations, which will be of
great significance, but it it is still too early to have political
negotiations on the roadmap," the official said Thursday on condition
Sharon will meet with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas in the Red Sea
resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on February 8 in a summit hosted by
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and which is also due to be attended
by Jordan´s King Abdullah II.
It will be the Israeli leader´s first meeting with a Palestinian
Authority president since he came to power in February 2001, having
completely boycotted Abbas´s late predecessor Yasser Arafat.
Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres said he hoped the two
leaders would issue a joint statement declaring a total end to
violence which has claimed some 4,700 lives since the outbreak of the
Palestinian uprising in September 2000.
However the aide to Sharon said any such declaration from the
Palestinians had to be accompanied by action.
"They cannot just content themselves with declarations or police
deployments on the ground, they must really start to dismantle the
terrorist organisations," he said.
Sharon has been impressed by Abbas´s efforts to put an end to the
violence, including his deployment of around 4,000 members of the
Palestinian security forces in the Gaza Strip with orders to prevent
attacks on Israeli targets.
Abbas has also managed to persuade militant factions such as Hamas to
observe a temporary "cooling down" period but has consistently
rebuffed Israeli calls to institute a crackdown on the groups.
The roadmap has made next to no progress since its launch in June
2003, at a meeting attended by the then prime minister Abbas and
Sharon, amid the continuing violence on the ground.
Israel has accused the Palestinians of violating its terms by failing
to put a stop to attacks by the militants. The Palestinians in turn
point to continuing settlement activity in the occupied territories
as proof that Israel is not meeting its commitments in the blueprint.
(Copyright © 2005 Agence France Presse. 02/03/05)
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