First Published: 2003-06-02

 
No joint statement after Aqaba summit
 

Israeli official says no prior agreement has been reached on text because of fundamental differences.

 

Middle East Online

Will Aqaba summit be a positive move towards peace?

JERUSALEM - The Middle East peace summit in Jordan will produce no joint statement from Israel and the Palestinians because of basic differences on the way ahead, an Israeli official said Monday.

"There will be no common statement because we have reached no prior agreement on the text, despite the efforts of US diplomacy," the senior official said.

Official Palestinian sources confirmed the two parties had been unable to reach a deal on the planned statement despite mediation by US Middle East envoy William Burns.

The fundamental differences concerned "the recognition by the Palestinians of Israel as a Jewish state, in exchange for full recognition of a Palestinian state," the Israeli official said on condition of anonymity.

"There will be no joint statement, because we did not reach an agreement on the text, despite the sustained effort of the US diplomacy."

He said the main sticking point was the issue of "the Palestinians' recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, in exchange for full recognition of a Palestinian state.

"Given that the Palestinians refuse to accept this formula, it has been decided that there will be separate statements from each of the parties at the end of the summit," the official said.

On Thursday an advisor to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said the two sides would publish a joint statement on the international peace roadmap after they meet in the Jordanian Red Sea resort of Aqaba on Wednesday.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his Palestinian counterpart Mahmud Abbas are to meet with US President George W. Bush.

Israel insists on its demand for the recognition of a Jewish state, in order to counter the "right of return" of 3.7 million Palestinian refugees that would affect the demographic balance and which the Jewish state rejects.

According to Israeli public radio, the Israeli statement will only mention a Palestinian state in reference to "President Bush's vision" on the issue.

In his statement, Sharon is also expected to stress the need for Israel to put an end to its "rule" over the Palestinians, without using the term "occupation".

Sharon shocked Israel last week when he warned against the negative consequences of Israel's "occupation regime".

Following the outcry his comments caused among his right-wing supporters, he revised his words and stressed that the appropriate term was "the disputed territories".

Sharon is also expected Wednesday to announce the dismantling of a number of Jewish settlement outposts set up since he took power in March 2001, but not all of them as requested by the roadmap.

Israeli Deputy Defence Minister Zeev Boim has said no more than 10 of the settlements built on Palestinian land are slated for evacuation, among the more than 60 counted by the Peace Now group.

 

UN council votes to bring back full Western Sahara mission

UN rights chief calls Syrian crisis 'shameful realpolitik'

Air strike hits clinic in rebel-held Aleppo

South Sudan unveils unity government

Aleppo mourns paediatrician killed in air strike

US, Russia 'agree freeze' on two Syrian fronts

Libya unity government vows to end jihadist 'scourge'

Turkey demands 5 years jail for UK academic over 'terror propaganda'

UK pair accused of giving money to Brussels, Paris attacks suspect

Turkey says Bursa bomber linked to PKK

Kuwait steps up deportations of expat workers

Iranians vote in second round of parliamentary elections

Palestinians support, Israel opposes French peace initiative

Biden in surprise Iraq visit to support embattled government

MSF condemns strike on Aleppo hospital

Lifeline to millions in Syria 'may be broken' as violence intensifies

Turkish journalists get two years for publishing Charlie Hebdo cartoon

Greece making 'incredible effort' to tackle migration issue

Iraq shuts Al-Jazeera bureau for 'instigating violence and sectarianism'

Syria regime readies for major Aleppo offensive

Israel nuclear reactor defects spark secrecy dilemma

Suicide bomber targets Aden police chief

Death toll in Syria's Aleppo rises despite UN truce plea

Italy to introduce migrant fingerprinting at sea

UN envoy plans to hold another round of Syria peace talks

US proposes full restoration of Western Sahara mission

27 Yemeni soldiers dead in key offensive

Global press freedom drops to lowest level in 12 years

Constitutional amendment grants Jordan king more powers

Suicide bomber blows herself up in Turkey northwestern city

Austria adopts one of EU's toughest asylum laws

Netherlands warns no safety 'guarantees' for visitors to Turkey

Battered Aleppo residents ask: Where is Syria ceasefire?

Libya kidnappers release Serbian worker

Sinai bombing kills three Egypt policemen

UAE considers tough safety code after skyscraper fires

UNESCO says Palmyra retains 'authenticity' despite damage

Khamenei says US 'fomenting Iranophobia'

Russia applauds cooperation with US on Syria

Etihad Airways sees $103 million profit in 2015

Russia asks UN to list Syria rebel group as 'terrorist'

2 Palestinians shot dead at checkpoint

Turkey PM pledges draft constitution will guarantee secularism

Greece returns 49 migrants to Turkey

Nearly quarter of Iran's parliament seats at stake in election run-off