Official: Mandela ‘will Contribute’ to Middle East Peace Process
Former South African president Nelson Mandela "will contribute" to the Middle East peace process, an official said Friday.
Mandela "is very active ... in the peace process; he will contribute, but he will wait for President, Thabo Mbeki, to discuss this contribution," foreign affairs deputy director general Jerry Matsila told reporters during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Pretoria.
Matsila said he had briefed Mandela earlier in the day.
Mandela came up with a three-point peace-plan for the Middle East in October last year after visiting the region.
Under it, Israel would withdraw from Arab land it has occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War, Arab states would recognize Israel's sovereignty, and an international commission would be set up to resolve questions such as the status of Jerusalem and the future of Jewish settlers on the West Bank.
The former president complained in February however that the big powers were ignoring his initiative, adding: "If America starts an initiative, then France undermines it, and then Russia undermines them."
In August, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat visited South Africa and issued an impassioned plea to Mandela to intervene.
"I have been asked, but my reply is that this cannot be an individual initiative," Mandela said in reply.
The 82-year-old Mandela said, however, that he had agreed to carry out a special request for Arafat, details of which he refused to disclosed -- PRETORIA (AFP)
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