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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


SG/SM/7925
29 August 2001

Français
ISRAELI WITHDRAWAL FROM BEIT JALA ‘ESSENTIAL STEP TO PREVENT

FURTHER ESCALATION’ SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL


The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:


The Secretary-General is greatly dismayed by the further escalation of violence in recent days in the occupied Palestinian territory and in Israel. There have been a number of troubling incidents and developments involving further loss of life on both sides.

The Secretary-General is concerned that such Israeli action as the killing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Abu Ali Mustafa, and the military incursion into the Palestinian village of Beit Jala, only further inflame the passions in the region and complicate the search for a way out of the present crisis. He reiterates his condemnation of the practice of targeted and extra-judicial killing of Palestinian personalities, and urges Israel to withdraw its troops from all areas under Palestinian authority.

The Secretary-General welcomes reports of an agreement between Foreign Minister Peres and President Arafat regarding Beit Jala, reached with the help of the European Union. He considers the withdrawal from Beit Jala as an essential step to prevent further escalation.

The Secretary-General appeals to all to exercise restraint and to stop the cycle of destructive violence. The growing tragic loss of life on both sides underlines the urgency of resuming a dialogue between the parties, as there is no alternative to a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338.


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