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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
United Nations News Service (See also > DPI)
14 March 2003



Annan welcomes Bush's announcement on Middle East road map


14 March United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has welcomed today's statement by President George W. Bush of the United States that a plan by the diplomatic Quartet for a settlement to the Middle East crisis will be presented to the Israelis and Palestinians once the Palestinian Prime Minister has been confirmed in office.

A statement issued by a spokesman for Mr. Annan said the Secretary-General has been pressing since December for the so-called Road Map to be adopted and presented to the parties as soon as possible.

The plan of the Quartet - which comprises the UN, European Union, Russian Federation and United States - calls for the Israelis and Palestinians to take a series of reciprocal steps towards realizing the vision of two sovereign states, living side-by-side in peace and security.

"The Secretary-General urges that, once the Road Map has been presented, its implementation by the parties will be pursued with persistence and determination," Fred Eckhard said at a press briefing in New York.

Meanwhile, Mr. Annan also voiced grave concern at the rising and alarming toll of casualties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"The Secretary-General urges the parties immediately to cease all forms of violence, to seize the opportunity to pursue the path to peace through political negotiations, and to act in strict compliance with their obligations towards civilians under international humanitarian law," Mr. Eckhard said.

The spokesman noted that in the last 24 hours alone, 11 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli raids in the northern West Bank. In addition, three Israelis have been seriously wounded, two in Jerusalem and one near Hebron.


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