Israel agrees to deployment of Fatah force as US welcomes Olmert speech

Published November 28th, 2006 - 08:25 GMT

Israel has agreed in principle for a Jordan-based security force loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to deploy in the Gaza Strip to help police a truce, an Israeli diplomatic source on Tuesday told Reuters. The request to redeploy the Badr Brigade, the source said, came from Abbas.


"Basically, we have agreed, though it has not yet been officially released," the source said. "The request came through before the cease-fire, but certainly this could boost the truce."


The Israeli diplomatic source gave no date for the Badr Brigade's planned deployment in Gaza Strip. "The decision would have to be made by the governments of Jordan, Israel and the Palestinians. But the idea is a logical one both militarily and politically," Lieutenant-General Keith Dayton, the U.S. security coordinator in the region, told an Israeli newspaper last week.


Meanwhile, US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack welcomed Israeli premier Ehud Olmert's speech on Monday and defined the ceasefire as "a welcome development, certainly potentially promising."


The US spokesman noted that "Prime Minister Olmert, I think, has through this speech and through his remarks demonstrated that he is truly interested in the dialogue that would lead to a two-state solution, Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace. He has offered up a political horizon to the Palestinians to negotiate in good faith. That's certainly promising.

"But again, before you get to that point, there are obstacles. There are obstacles that need to be overcome," he added.



"It is up to the Palestinian security forces to stop those kinds of attacks," he said.


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan also welcomed the ceasefire agreement. In his statement, however, he expressed deep concern over the continued firing on rockets at civilian targets inside Israel, saying that these attacks demonstrate the militants' destructive power to sabotage the critical effort to diminish the tension.



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