Ben Ami: No Israeli-Palestinian Summit without Halt to Violence
Israel's acting Foreign Minister, Shlomo Ben Ami, said that there would be no Israeli-Palestinian summit if the violence continues to rage in the Palestinian territories, reported Al-Jazira TV channel.
Ben Ami's remarks came during a joint press conference with United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, who arrived late Monday to Israel in a bid to calm the tense situation in Palestinian lands.
He also added that Israel saw no sign of an end to the violence that has rocked the Palestinian territories over the past 12 days, according to Al-Jazira TV.
"Israel sees no sign on the ground that the violence has stopped," Ben Ami said.
For his part, Annan said that his objective on his mission to the region was to stop the bloodshed in the Middle East and prevent the conflict from spreading, reported AFP.
Annan headed straight into talks with Ben Ami, and was due later to go to Gaza City to a meeting with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, said AFP.
But he would not meet until Tuesday morning with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who told the Palestinians Saturday that he would consider the peace process dead if they did not call a halt to the deadly unrest by Monday evening, said the agency.
Sources in Barak's office said that a cabinet meeting on the crisis would be delayed until 10:30 p.m. (2030 GMT) because of consultations he was holding with security officials.
Israeli television reported that Annan's aides were annoyed that Barak was not meeting the UN chief on Monday, suggesting that the Israeli prime minister was protesting at a recent UN Security Council resolution condemning an "excessive use of force" by Israeli forces on Palestinian demonstrators – (Several Sources)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)