Arabs, EU reject Bush-Sharon statement as PA leadership holds urgent meeting
The reactions following Wednesday's meeting between U.S. President George W. Bush and Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon continued on Thursday, with the European Union insisting there could be no unilateral change in Middle East borders.
"The European Union will not recognize any change to the pre-1967 borders other than those arrived at by agreement between the parties," Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen said in a statement on behalf of the EU presidency.
Cowen added an international peace road map, in which the EU is a partner with the United States, stressed that any settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "must include an agreed, just, fair and realistic solution to the refugee issue".
For their part, the Palestinians were holding an emergency session in Ramallah on Thursday afternoon to discuss the repercussions of the Sharon-Bush meeting.
Some media reports on Thursday said Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei was considering quitting his post, in reaction to Bush's comments that Israel could keep West Bank settlement blocs and that there would be no right of return for Palestinian refugees to Israeli territories.
Meanwhile, the Arab League (AL) affirmed Thursday the need for Israeli pullout from the occupied 1967 territories and for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on those lands.
In a press conference, the spokesman of the AL Secretary General, Hussam Zaki, said that "it was not possible to reward the occupation or ignore the negotiations of the final status issues."
Zaki considered Israel's move to annex some settlements blocs in the West Bank, was "a direct dissenting of the international law and a cut- off of the opportunities to achieve a just peace for the Palestinian issue."
He added that such intention reflects Israeli government's incompetence to accept the land for peace principle that is based on peace negotiations. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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