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U.S. Wants UN Condemnation Mideast Terror Groups

U.S. Wants U.N. Condemnation of Mideast Terror Groups Security Council discussing Middle East violence

By Judy Aita
Washington File United Nations Correspondent

United Nations -- The United States will not support a U.N. Security Council resolution on the Middle East that does not contain "a robust condemnation of terrorism" explicitly mentioning Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade, U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said September 15.

"While all parties have responsibilities in bringing peace to the Middle East, ending terrorism must be the highest priority. Those responsible for targeting civilians, obstructing the Quartet's [United States, Russia, European Union, and the U.N.] efforts and Palestinian prospects for an independent state are known groups: Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade," Negroponte told the Security Council.

The Security Council is holding a public day-long debate on the situation in the Middle East. The meeting was requested by the Arab Group of States at the United Nations. The group also asked the council to consider a resolution demanding Israel end deportations and stop threatening the safety of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat. The draft also supports the efforts of the so-called roadmap peace plan drawn up by the Quartet.

Security Council members are negotiating the text.

Speaking with journalists outside the council, Negroponte, the chief U.S. delegate to the United Nations, said that "if a resolution were put to us that didn't contain a condemnation of these groups, we would be unable to support [it]."

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He added that the United States does not see that "any particularly useful purpose can be served by the passage of yet another Security Council resolution at this particular juncture."

"We think there is a perfectly good plan on the table -- the roadmap. We think it needs to be adhered to and implemented," the ambassador said. He pointed out that the Quartet will be meeting in New York later in the month during the opening of the 58th General Assembly.

"We think that is the constructive way to go," Negroponte said.

In his formal remarks to the council Negroponte said that any resolution must also "take a clear stand against the actions of these terrorist groups and call for decisive action against them" as well as "call for the dismantling of the infrastructure which supports these terror operations, wherever located."

The new Palestinian prime minister and his cabinet "must demand that all acts of terrorism cease, and insist that terrorist organizations and armed groups not under the control of the Palestinian Authority be outlawed and dismantled," Negroponte said.

"Israel must move forward and fulfill its obligations and commitments under the roadmap. This will provide a supportive environment for the new Palestinian leadership to act decisively against terrorist organizations ... which are intent on destroying the roadmap and the prospects for a two-state solution," he said.

Terje Roed Larsen, U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, briefed the council at the beginning of the meeting, blaming the poor start of the roadmap on the fact that "we moved too slowly and with incremental steps at the initial stages."

"What was necessary was bold steps which could have produced support on both sides for the process," Roed Larsen said.

"Neither side has seriously and actively addressed the core concerns of the other side. For Israelis, that concern is security and freedom from terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority failed again to grasp control of the security situation," he said.

"For Palestinians, the core concern is an assurance that the peace process will lead to the end of the occupation and the establishment of a viable, independent Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 borders. The ongoing settlement activity and continued construction of the separation wall cause Palestinians to wonder whether we are moving in the opposite direction to that goal," the U.N. envoy said.

The road map addresses both terrorism and occupation, but the limited approach doesn't effectively tackle either issue, Roed Larsen said. "Not only must progress be made on each, but progress must be seen to be occurring by Israelis and Palestinians alike," he said, in order to gain support for the peace process.

"Settlements have to be vacated on a parallel basis with a serious effort from [the] Palestinian Authority against terrorism. Only with such simultaneous steps going to the heart of the matter we can move forward," he said.

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