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.

 

Iraq launches operation to clear last IS holdouts from desert

Divided Syria opposition meets in Riyadh

Lebanon’s Hariri suspends resignation

Revolt in US State Department over child soldier law

Outrage in Iraq over 'child marriage' bill

China, Djibouti forge 'strategic' ties

IS propaganda channels fall quiet in 'unprecedented' hiatus

Kremlin to create Syria congress despite Turkey ‘reservations’

Netanyahu berates deputy minister for 'offensive' remarks on US Jews

Egypt PM heads to Germany for medical treatment

Egypt destroys 10 SUVs carrying arms on Libya border

Saudi-led coalition to reopen Yemen airport, port to aid

Turkey court rules to keep Amnesty chief in jail

France calls for UN meeting on Libya slave-trading

Egypt detains 29 for allegedly spying for Turkey

WTO panel to hear Qatar’s complaint against UAE blockade

Three dead as diphtheria spreads in Yemen

Israel seizes explosive material at Gaza border

Activists call for release of UK journalist held by IS

Bahrain upholds jail sentence for activist

Iraq attacks at lowest since 2014

Turkey continues crackdown in post-coup probe

Hariri back in Lebanon

Putin to hold Syria peace talks with Erdogan, Rouhani

US carries out air strikes against IS in Libya

Lebanon's Hariri in Egypt ahead of return home

Rebels say Sanaa airport 'ready to run' after coalition bombing

Greece to amend historic sharia law for Muslim minority

Turkey to ask Germany to extradite top coup suspect

Car bomb in northern Iraq kills at least 24

Morocco bans bitcoin transactions

13 million Syrians need aid despite relative drop in violence

Sudan urged to improve plight of Darfur's displaced people

Brain drain means Syria can’t recover for a generation

Palestinians close communication lines with Americans

Anti-IS coalition strikes drop to lowest number

German police arrest six Syrians ‘planning terror attack’

Palestinian factions in Cairo for reconciliation talks

Turkish opposition daily web editor sentenced to 3 years in jail

Israeli police arrest 33 in ultra-Orthodox draft riots

Turkish lira at new low against US dollar

Islamic republic declares end of Islamic State

Assad in Russia for talks with Putin

UN chief horrified by Libya slave auctions

Qatar 2022 chief has no regrets over hosting World Cup