World Urges Palestinians, Israelis to Go on with Peace Efforts
The collapse of peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis at Camp David was received with disappointment by the world countries, who urged the Palestinians and the Israelis to continue with their efforts to achieve a peaceful solution to the 52-year-old conflict.
US President Bill Clinton announced Tuesday the conclusion of the three-way peace summit at the presidential retreat of Camp David “without reaching an agreement.”
Meanwhile, American press blamed Palestinian President Yasser Arafat for the failure.
In Paris, the European Union urged Israelis and Palestinians on Tuesday to keep striving for peace despite the collapse of marathon summit talks on a final settlement, reported Reuters.
France, which holds the rotating EU presidency, issued the statement on behalf of the bloc after 15 days of intense negotiations at the Camp David US presidential retreat ended without success, stumbling chiefly over the future of Jerusalem.
“The last obstacles that prevented the conclusion of an agreement must be overcome,” the statement said. “The hope born from these weeks of negotiations must not be allowed to be extinguished.”
The EU congratulated all sides for their efforts to reach an agreement, and said the weeks of talks had shown that even the most difficult questions had been discussed in depth.
“For the first time the taboos have been broken. Positions that a short time ago looked irreconcilable have evolved thanks to a sense of responsibility by all parties,” it said.
BRITAIN REGRETS FAILURE, VOWS READINESS TO HELP
Britain said on Tuesday it regretted the collapse of the Camp David Middle East peace summit but welcomed the commitment by the Israelis and Palestinians to keep seeking a negotiated settlement, reported Reuters.
“We greatly regret that, although significant progress was made, the final decisions and compromises necessary to reach an historic agreement have, at least for now, proved elusive to both sides,” Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain said in a statement.
“We welcome both sides' commitment to continue to negotiate. With our European Union partners, the United Kingdom stands ready to help the Americans and the parties in any way we can,” Hain said.
“We hope that all across the region will react with calm and patience to this disappointing news and will give the parties the understanding and support they will continue to need as they maintain the search for peace.”
CANADA PRESSES ISRAELI, PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATORS TO CONTINUE TALKS
Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy reacted to the failure of the Middle East peace talks Tuesday by urging Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to reopen talks as soon as possible, according to AFP.
Axworthy said that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and President Arafat had "shown tremendous courage and vision in their pursuit of peace."
He continued, "I urge both leaders to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible to finalize a comprehensive agreement."
He also praised US President Bill Clinton for playing what he described as a key role in the summit.
US JEWISH GROUP: SUMMIT 'DISAPPOINTMENT MUST NOT GIVE WAY TO DESPAIR'
Following the collapse of Middle East peace talks at Camp David Tuesday, the American Jewish Congress said "disappointment must not give way to despair."
"The failure of Camp David may in the long run pave the way for the success of a future summit," the group said in a statement in Washington.
The results of the 15-day-old talks at the Camp David presidential retreat "will make it clear to both people that compromises must be found and that neither side will get all it wishes," it said.
The Camp David talks showed that those who think that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak "would behave as a weakling at the negotiating table were badly mistaken," said the group's president Jack Rosen and executive director Phil Baum.
US DAILIES BLAME ARAFAT FOR PEACE TALKS FAILURE
Arafat's unwillingness to reach a compromise on Jerusalem doomed the Middle East peace talks in Camp David to failure, The Washington Post and New York Times agreed Wednesday, said AFP.
While the summit was "undoubtedly productive," Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak was "ready to make serious compromises," while Arafat expected Barak to make compromises but "came unwilling to make them himself," the Post said.
After coming remarkably close to an agreement, the Times said, "Barak found Mr. Arafat unprepared to make the kind of hard compromises needed to seal an agreement."
While Barak "moved from his initial position" regarding Jerusalem, "Arafat, encouraged by Egypt and Saudi Arabia to be unyielding, showed little interest in American compromise proposals.
"Washington should make clear its disappointment with Cairo and Riyadh," The New York Times suggested.
Arafat also came in for some harsh criticism by the Post, which calls "unrealistic and dangerous," the Palestinians' expectation that the final status negotiations would involve substantial compromise only from the Israeli side.
Arafat's "unwillingness to consider compromise should affect the way any unilateral declaration of independence is received internationally," the Post said, referring to Arafat's vow to break from Israel on September 13th.
Should any violence ensue from the declaration of independence "Mr. Barak's flexibility in these talks and Mr. Arafat's inflexibility will both speak loudly," the daily cautioned.
Neither daily put an agreement out of reach, but they did concur that for that to happen the Palestine leader must take the initiative.
"He should begin by resisting pressure to declare Palestinian independence," the New York Times said – (Several Sources)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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