Report: Bush rejects Blair call to resume Palestinian - Israeli talks by end of 2002
Tony Blair's push for Middle East peace talks has suffered a setback at the hands of the US president, George Bush. Blair is pushing for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks, backed by an international conference, before the end of the current year. He has said that with war looming in Iraq, he regards it as vital to deal with one of the main causes of Arab resentment against the west.
But according to the Guardian daily, Bush has blocked the initiative and has made it clear to Blair that he does not want such talks to be held in the near future.
Over the last fortnight Blair has made two public calls for a revival of negotiations aimed at securing a final Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. Earlier this week, he said that "by the year's end, we must have revived final status negotiations and they must have explicitly as their aims an Israeli state free of terror, recognised by the Arab world, and a viable Palestinian state based on the boundaries of 1967".
According to British officials, in spite of the setback, Blair is to continue to pursue the idea of peace talks over the next few months. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)