US welcomes Arab leader agreement in Sharm El-Sheikh to curb terrorist financing
US President George W. Bush received commitments from Arab leaders at the Egyptian seaport of Sharm El-Sheikh, June 3, 2003, that they would make efforts to end financing for terrorist groups, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said, as reported by the official Washington File.
"We ... wanted from the Arab leaders support for fighting terrorism generally, because it's not possible to say that you want a peace process and to still have cases of support for terrorist financing coming from within one's territory. And we got that support today," Rice said.
Rice, speaking with ABC's Peter Jennings in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, said that "in a very dramatic way," Bush came to Egypt "to meet with those leaders, to seek their advice, to solicit commitments from them, to live up to their responsibilities."
She said that the Arab leaders affirmed their support for Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas' efforts to reform the Palestinian Authority with democratic institutions and more transparency in its finances, to build more effective and accountable Palestinian security forces, and to fight terrorism.
Rice said Prime Minister Abbas could ultimately be an important leader for the Palestinians if he delivers for them. "He's already a very important step forward, because he's someone who is devoted and has devoted his life to trying to help the Palestinian people, and believes that that cannot be done through violence and terrorism," she said.
Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon can be reassured that the United States "cares about the security of the Israelis," she said, but "security and peace are only going to be found through the existence of two states."
"Prime Minister Sharon has said that he is committed to that vision, and we believe it," said Rice. Rice added that President Bush expects that Israel "will help to bring into being a democratic, viable and contiguous Palestinian state."
"The important thing, though, is that we've launched a process here under conditions in which we now have interlocutors who are talking to each other, Prime Minister Abbas and Prime Minister Sharon," said Rice.
"[S]teps are being taken to try and improve the lives of the Palestinian people, in which the whole neighborhood today committed itself to fighting terrorism, no matter what its motivation and no matter what its justification. And those are important new conditions, and we will try to move forward," she said. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)