Washington Post: Zinni Needs Utmost Backing from Washington to Accomplish Mideast Thorny Task
The US administration must be prepared to provide strong backing to former central command chief Anthony Zinni in his Mideast peace mission, said an editorial by The Washington Post on Wednesday.
On Monday, the general, once described by the Post as "part warrior, part diplomat and part intellectual," emerged as Washington's new hope for curbing Israeli-Palestinian violence and putting the Middle East peace process back on track.
In a speech in Louisville, Kentucky, US Secretary of State Colin Powell announced Zinni's immediate dispatch to the region to try to establish a durable cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians.
"He is a distinguished soldier, a Marine, with a long experience in the Middle East, particularly on security issues," Powell said. "He will be an invaluable addition to our team."
The 58-year-old Zinni served with the US Central Command from 1996 to 2000.
In an editorial, the post said the Bush administration had to avoid allowing Zinni to "suffer the fate (Palestinian President Yasser) Arafat and (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon may well have in store for him."
This fate was "a thicket of endless, circular negotiations with Washington’s envoy that effectively allows each side to avoid acting."
The newspaper said "both sides know very well what they must do. Mr. Arafat must break with Palestinian terrorist organizations, arrest their leaders and call a halt to the uprising against Israel. Mr. Sharon must withdraw Israeli troops from Palestinian areas, remove checkpoints and blockades on Palestinian movement and freeze all Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip – Albawaba.com
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