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Source: United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO)
17 December 2001
Press Release

All parties must act to take advantage of a potential turning point created by Chairman Arafat's important speech and the security measures taken by the PA.

UNSCO, Gaza, 17 December 2001, UN Special Coordinator Terje Roed-Larsen met last night with Chairman Arafat in Ramallah, following Chairman Arafat's speech to the Palestinian and Israeli people. Following the meeting, the UN Special Co-ordinator said that it was "a historic speech that marked a potential turning point in the search for an end to violence." He said that Chairman Arafat's speech was given in parallel with significant Palestinian steps on the ground.

Mr. Larsen said that he had told Chairman Arafat that it was vital that the Palestinian Authority continued and deepened its efforts to control violence emanating from its territory. He said that while it was likely mat the speech would be criticized by some Palestinian groups, it should be understood that suicide operations, mortars, and other attacks gravely weakened international efforts to restore a process leading to an independent, viable Palestinian state.
Following the meeting with Chairman Arafat, the UN Special Co-ordinator met with Israeli Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres. He said that he had told Foreign Minister Peres that it was critical that Israel recognize that a potential opportunity had been opened by Chairman Arafat's speech, and that Israel should respond accordingly. He said that the international community stood by the demands made of Israel in the joint statement of the Quartet of UN, EU, US and Russian envoys on 26 October.

The Special Co-ordinator emphasized that urgent efforts were needed by all parties to take advantage of a potential opportunity created by Chairman Arafat's speech and recent security efforts. He said "violence achieves nothing for either side. Violence will not bring an end to the occupation. Violence will not bring security for Israelis or Palestinians. And violence cannot bring peace." In this connection, he added that further extra-judicial killings - at this sensitive moment, when the Palestinians seem to be making a genuine effort to calm things down - would not be conducive to this process.

For more information, please contact:
Mr. Marwan Ali, Media Officer
08-2825017 or 059-403307

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