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United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO)
17 October 2001
Statement by the U.N. Special Co-ordinator
17 October 2001
The UN Special Co-ordinator Terje Roed-Larsen, condemned in the strongest terms today's assassination of Israeli cabinet minister Rehavam Zeevi. He described the action as "utterly unacceptable" and noted that the United Nations has repeatedly condemned targetted assassinations by any party. He said that the attack by the Palestinian Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine threatened President Arafat's recent, serious efforts to uphold a ceasefire and control violence and jeopardized the recent progress made towards an end of the closures. Roed-Larsen said the action threatened to undermine planned bilateral meetings and steps to ease the closure.
Mr. Roed-Larsen met this morning in Gaza with President Arafat. Immediately after the meeting he issued the following statement:
"President Arafat told me that he had condemned in the strongest possible terms the assassination of the Israeli Minister, Mr. Zeevi. And that he had sent his sincere condolences to Mr. Zeevi's family and to the Government and people of Israel. These messages were conveyed in a strong statement issued by President Arafat just before my meeting with him.
My impression from the meeting is that President Arafat regards this assassination as extremely damaging to the Palestinian cause and national interest; and those responsible have brought condemnation on the Palestinians at a time when their critical national interest is to make their cause and their struggle understood within the new forces that are shaping international politics. President Arafat said he believed the Palestinian cause was best served by restraint and negotiations: by politics, not force.
President Arafat informed me that he has ordered the immediate search for, and arrest of, those responsible for today's operation. He has instructed all security chiefs to take all necessary measures to prevent acts of violence and terrorism."