JERUSALEM - A Saudi-driven proposal for peace in the Middle East
is gaining international momentum as the
European Union's foreign policy chief heads to Saudi Arabia
Wednesday to further talks.
Javier Solana is expected to meet with Saudi Crown Prince
Abdullah, who has offered to lead the negotiations with the Arab
world. His plan calls for Israeli withdrawal from all territories
occupied after the 1967 war including the West Bank, Gaza and the
Golan Heights, in exchange for recognition of Israel. Abdullah has
called the proposal a "vision," not a "road map".
His adviser says Israel would have to negotiate the details with the
Palestinians, the Syrians and the Lebanese.
Saudi Arabia, says the adviser, will not get involved in the
negotiations. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has offered to meet
with Abdullah to discuss the plan. Egypt's foreign minister is
currently in Saudi Arabia working to set up the meeting on behalf of
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
U.S. President George W. Bush also offered his praise for the plan,
but his spokesperson said Tuesday that the situation is complicated.
"There's been so many negative notes coming out of the Middle East
recently, at least in this statement by the Crown Prince there was a
note of hope. It doesn't change anything on the ground. The situation
remains a very complicated situation and a very violent one," said Ari
The Saudis could formally present the proposal to the UN Security
Council Wednesday night. Despite any talk of peace, violence continued
in the region Wednesday.
A Palestinian man was killed before dawn as he attempted to
plant a bomb beside an Israeli tank near the West Bank refugee camp of
Balata. Al Aqsa Brigades militia leader Nasser Awais is hiding out in
the camp with several hundred armed supporters. They have vowed to
continue strikes against Israeli targets. The victim was a member of
the militant group. Also Wednesday, an Israeli was shot and killed by
a Palestinian at the coffee factory where they both worked in north
Jerusalem's industrial area. Israeli radio says a group linked to
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement claimed
Written by CBC News Online Staff