Mitchell Says Inquiry Committee Plans to Leave for Mideast Soon

Published November 27th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

The head of an international committee of inquiry into Middle East violence said Monday the five-member group would soon depart for the region. 

The dates of the committee's visit have not been set, former US Senator George Mitchell told a news conference. 

The panel set up at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit in Egypt back in October met for the first time in NewYork Sunday. It is made up of five international figures, with the aim of establishing the reasons for the Israeli-Palestinian unrest and ways to solve it. 

Israeli leaders said last week they oppose a visit by the committee until the violence dies down, but Mitchell stressed the importance of finding a quick end to the violence. 

"Both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority agreed to the creation of this committee and both assured us, in our meetings yesterday and today, of their full support for the work of this committee," Mitchell said. 

"The committee looks forward to the continuing cooperation of the Israeli and Palestinian sides in the committee's work," said Mitchell, who previously was a mediator in the Northern Ireland peace process. 

Seven Palestinians were killed Monday in continued fighting, bringing to 290 the number killed since the unrest began September 28. The vast majority of those killed have been Palestinian. 

Besides Mitchell, the commission's members include former Turkish president Suleyman Demirel, Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign-affairs representative, Norwegian diplomat Thorbjorn Jagland and Warren Rudman, another former US senator -- NEW YORK (AFP). 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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