Powell says he still hopes to meet PA officials as Israel describes Nablus as ''capital of terror''
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Saturday he still hoped to meet Palestinian leaders next week despite the bombing of a Jerusalem university but made clear no specific dates or participants had been set. "We condemn those terrorist attacks and we mourn for those who lost their lives," Powell said.
"But we can't give up. We can't walk away from it. We must continue to try to find a path forward. This means that you have to talk to people," Powell told a news conference after meeting Philippine officials near the end of an eight-nation Asia tour.
Palestinian cabinet minister and senior negotiator Saeb Erekat announced Friday that the Palestinian delegation that was scheduled to head for talks in Washington with Powell postponed the visit until Aug. 10. "The Palestinian side is the one who asked for the postponement of the visit," he added.
"We continue to meet with our Arab friends. We continue to meet with our Israeli friends. And I hope next week I'll be able to meet with some Palestinian leaders who have been given the authority to work with us," Powell said. "We will not give up on our quest for peace."
Powell, who was due to depart for Washington later on Saturday, said "I am hoping it is going to be possible to meet with Palestinian leaders in the near future; Palestinian leaders who are willing to take action, who are vested with authority to deal with us as a way of moving forward. "When that meeting might take place and who would be available for such a meeting, I think I have to wait until I get back to Washington to see what the state of play is."
State Department officials pointed out that Powell has been consumed by an exhausting eight nation tour of Asia in recent days, and that his immediate schedule will not be drawn up until after his return in the early hours of Sunday, AFP said.
Meanwhile, the Israeli army blew up two buildings with explosives labs and arrested at least 50 Palestinians in house to house searches Friday as troops took control of Nablus, a city Israel called "the main factory of suicide bombings." The Israeli army clashed with Palestinians in several places in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and overall, five Palestinians were killed, including an elderly woman, and seven houses and buildings were destroyed. "Nablus has become the capital of terror," Israel’s Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said Friday. (Albawaba.com)
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