US President Bill Clinton warned the Palestinians Friday against a unilateral declaration of an independent state without first reaching an agreement with Israel, saying such a move would have negative consequences.
"I think it would be a big mistake to take a unilateral action and walk away from the peace process. If it happens there will inevitably be consequences, not just here but throughout the world; things will happen," he said in a television interview to be broadcast late Friday, extracts of which were aired on Israeli public radio.
He was answering a question on the bill before the US Congress to suspend all aid to the Palestinians if President Yasser Arafat carries through on his pledge to declare an independent state by September 13th with or without an agreement with Israel.
Clinton also committed himself to do everything possible to get necessary economic aid for Israel and the Palestinians after an agreement is reached.
"I will do my best to get the maximum amount of support. One of the reasons I wanted very much to get the agreement this time is that it would give us more time to pass an aid package through Congress," he said.
"But if there is an agreement, Israel will have further security needs. There will be human costs involved. There will have to be some sort of international fund for the refugees," Clinton said.
He also raised the issue of compensation for the hundreds of thousands of Jews from Arab states who were forced to leave their countries of origin when the state of Israel was created in 1948.
"There is some -- interestingly enough, on both sides -- support for having a fund which compensates the Israelis who were made refugees by the war which occurred after the birth of the state of Israel," he said.
Clinton described Palestinian support for such compensation as "another piece of good news" from the summit - WASHINGTON (AFP)
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