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Urgent need to revive Middle East peace process

Urgent need to revive Middle East peace process agreed

The Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, held discussions with Nabil Sha'ath, Palestinian Minister for Planning and International Cooperation, on 16th October and discussed how the Middle East peace process can be taken forward to lead to 'a viable independent and proud state of Palestine existing alongside a secure state of Israel'.

Jack Straw stressed the 'urgent need to make progress toward ending the violence' and for the Palestinian Authority to do everything it can to end terrorism. Of equal importance, Israel 'should lift the curfews and closures and allow the Palestinian Authority the room to fulfil its responsibilities', said Mr Straw.

Jack Straw and Nabil Sha'ath agreed that they would like to see a 'resumption of the political process before the end of the year'.

TRANSCRIPT FOLLOWS...


URGENT NEED TO REVIVE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS AGREED (16/10/02)


The Foreign Secretary today held discussions with Nabil Sha'ath, Palestinian Minister for Planning and International Cooperation. Following the meeting, Jack Straw said:

'Nabil Sha'ath and I discussed the way in which we can take forward, even at this very difficult time, a process which will lead to a viable independent and proud state of Palestine existing alongside a secure state of Israel. I welcomed Minister Sha'ath's reaction to the remarks made by the Prime Minister recently calling for a massive mobilisation of energy to get the peace process moving again, and we agreed that we would like to see a resumption of the political process before the end of the year, if that is at all possible.

'In our talks, I made clear the urgent need to make progress toward ending the violence. The Palestinian Authority must do everything in its power to stop the terrorism. There can be no solution to this conflict through violence.

'As important, Israel must do more to alleviate the desperate humanitarian situation in the Occupied Territories. It should lift the curfews and closures and allow the Palestinian Authority the room to fulfil its responsibilities.

'I also stressed the importance we attached to the Palestinian Authority urgently making good on its commitment to comprehensive reform, including the appointment of a new Cabinet capable of delivering credible reforms.'

ENDS

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