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World leaders for consensus on ME policy

10 Apr 2002


MADRID, April 9: Americans, Russians, Europeans and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan head to Madrid today (Wednesday) in an attempt to coordinate efforts to end the violence in the Middle East with prospects for future coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians looking bleaker than ever.

While there is broad agreement on the need for a ceasefire to stop the cycle of violence and terrorism and to demand an immediate Israeli withdrawal from West Bank towns, there are marked differences among the Madrid participants over how to set the peace process back on track.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell, his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov, Spanish Foreign Minister Joseph Pique - whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union - as well as the EU's foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Annan will be in Madrid.

They come together as Israel continues its military operations in the Palestinian areas despite repeated appeals from US President George W. Bush and numerous UN resolutions calling on the government of Ariel Sharon to immediately withdraw troops from the West Bank towns. For the present though, strong words seem to be the tone of international diplomacy vis-a-vis Israel.-AFP

The Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia was formed in 1993 to combat rising religious intolerance in South Asia and to campaign for peace and justice in the region. We are committed to working towards a just, non-violent resolution of the crisis we are currently living through. If you are interested in joining us in this work, please call 617-983-3934 or e-mail

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