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PNA, EU Reconfirm Commitment to ‘Roadmap’


PNA, EU Reconfirm Commitment to ‘Roadmap’

Arafat’s CNN Remarks on Peace Plan ‘Inaccurately Quoted’: Abed Rabbo

The Palestine National Authority (PNA) on Wednesday reconfirmed the Palestinian leadership’s commitment to the Quartet-adopted “roadmap,” indicating that President Yasser Arafat’s statements to CNN Tuesday on the peace plan were “inaccurately quoted,” while the EU stressed that the plan “is alive” and all parties will have “to maintain its life.”

On Tuesday, President Arafat told CNN in an off-camera interview that “Israeli military aggression in recent weeks” have rendered the roadmap “dead” and the US Administration has let die.

President Arafat’s remarks were “inaccurately quoted,” the PNA Minister of Cabinet Affairs Yasser Abed Rabbo told Aljazeera satellite TV station on Wednesday.

“The PNA is committed to the roadmap. What the President meant was that the plan has become un-applicable because of the practices of the (Israeli) occupation government,” Abed Rabbo explained.

He urged the US Administration to use all its weight to implement it and to help stop meddling in internal Palestinian affairs.

“We have stressed more than once that international interference in our internal affairs leads to complicating these affairs more. I am afraid it (US interference) is an American attempt to avoid (implementing) the roadmap under the pretext that Palestinian differences have obstructed its implementation,” Abed Rabbo said.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell on Wednesday said in Washington that Arafat -- whom the US and Israel have sought to isolate -- "has not been playing a helpful role."

"If he (Arafat) wanted to play a helpful role he would be supporting Prime Minister (Mahmud) Abbas, not frustrating his efforts," Powell said.

Similarly, Arafat’s media adviser Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP Wednesday that Palestinians remained committed to the “roadmap,” which he said "still exists.”

Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana admitted Wednesday that there was a serious deadlock facing the peace process and efforts to implement the “roadmap,” which the European Union is sponsoring along with Russia, the United States and the United Nations, but dismissed suggestions the Middle East “roadmap” was “dead.”

The Middle East peace process was going through a "very delicate moment," Solana said.

"But I still hope that we will be able to overcome these difficulties ... (and) the roadmap will continue to move and be the document which will (accomplish) the dream of many people of good faith," he said.

However, the peace initiative was very much alive and needed full support, Solana told a press conference in Beirut after talks with Lebanese officials.

"I don't want to see a statement saying that the roadmap faces death. The roadmap is alive and we have to maintain its life," he insisted.

Solana, who did not refer directly to Arafat, said the internationally - backed initiative calling for the creation of a Palestinian state by 2005 "is the best document" available for peace between Israelis and the Palestinians.

Representatives of the four sponsors are due to meet in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly later this month, Solana said.

The EU’s foreign policy chief arrived Tuesday night in Beirut on the last leg of a regional tour that took him to Iran, Israel, Jordan and Syria. He was due to return to Brussels later in the day.

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