Abdullah gives Bush new peace plan

Published April 27th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has given President George W. Bush an eight-point plan designed to reinvigorate Middle East peace efforts, the White House said, describing the document as "constructive."  


Abdullah gave Bush the document during their talks on Thursday, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said. The plan complements an earlier Saudi land-for-peace initiative for normalizing relations with Israel that was adopted by Arab leaders in Beirut in March.  

The plan, which appears to be largely an amalgam of existing US and Saudi proposals for ending the bloody Israel-Palestinian conflict, recommends:  


- An Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian-ruled areas taken over in recent incursions;  

- A lifting of the Israeli siege of Ramallah;  

- The creation of a multinational peace force for the territories;  

- The reconstruction of Palestinian infrastructure devastated by the fighting;  

- Talks on US security plans, including the Tenet work plan and the Mitchell plan;  

- The halting of Israeli settlement building;  

- A renunciation of violence by both sides;  

- A concerted US attempt to implement UN resolution 242 passed in 1967, which called for an Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab lands.  


"The paper the Saudis presented has a whole series of ideas on it many of which the president views we can make progress on," said Fleischer. "That's constructive and we are going to continue to work with all the parties in the region. The Saudi paper is a helpful way to do it ... the president views it as constructive."  


Fleischer noted that the US government was open to the idea of deploying international monitors in the Palestinian territories, rather than a peace force, but only if both sides agreed.  

"There are some different elements in there that further define how we get to that vision he [Abdullah] talked about," in the Beirut plan, U.S. National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack said. "It's a basis for discussion." 


Abdullah told Bush during their meeting on Thursday that the United States must "intervene in a fair manner to end the current crisis in the Palestinian territories," according to a Saudi official accompanying Abdullah on his US trip.  


The Saudi crown prince urged Bush to "put pressure on Israel to (force it) to immediately pull its troops out of West Bank towns and lift the siege imposed on the territories, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (in his Ramallah compound) and the Church of the Nativity" in Bethlehem, the official told AFP.  


Abdullah also made the point that the bloodbath in the Palestinian territories was discrediting the United States in the Arab world, he added. (Albawaba.com)

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