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.

 

Dialogue remains distant as Arabs vow to defeat Iran 'puppet' in Yemen

Guarded optimism as Iran nuclear talks close in on deal

Saudi police officers wounded in Riyadh drive-by shooting

World leaders show solidarity with Tunisia in march against extremism

Oil prices fall after Yemen-inspired gains

Egypt renews calls for creation of joint military force at Arab summit

Saudi ambassador to return to Sweden after diplomatic spat

Libya forces ‘withdraw’ from frontline bases near oil ports

Qaeda seizes 'majority' of Syria northwestern city of Idlib

Torturous Iran talks move into top gear in battle of wills

UN Security Council keeps Libya arms embargo in place

Saudi-led airstrikes target arms depots in Yemen capital

Death toll from hotel attack rises as fighting continues in Somalia

Turkish parliament passes security bill after long debate

Turkey army chief of staff visits historic tomb inside Syria

Saudi-led coalition keeps up raids against Yemen rebels

Assad says open to dialogue with US

US backs Saudi-led intervention in Yemen

Heavy Saudi raids force Sanaa residents to flee

Israeli Arab MP walks for Bedouins

Gulf stocks regain ground after early losses over Yemen

Kerry presses Iran on nuclear deal before deadline

Somali pirates seize Iranian fishing vessel

Borse Dubai sells big stake in London Stock Exchange

Can Arabs form joint military force?

Libya rivals discuss UN-backed peace proposals

French President to join 'anti-terror' march in Tunis

Sisi underscores Egypt’s rights to tap Nile water

US-led coalition aircraft bomb Tikrit

Saudi warplanes strike Yemen rebels in Sanaa

Netanyahu to form Israel new government after shock victory

Turkey military responds to Kurdish attacks in southeast

Leaders see horror of air crash as investigators step up probe

Fistfight in Iraqi Kurdish parliament

Syria rebels seize ancient town of Busra Sham

UN reveals plethora of abuses against activists in Libya

IS attack kills 5 militia fighters in Libya city of Sirte

Yemen President ‘in safety’ as rebel forces advance

US considering launching air strikes on Tikrit

Yemen Huthis seizes key airbase near Aden

'Feminist' policy costing dear to Sweden

Obama says row with Netanyahu ‘substantive’

Tunisia honours victims of deadly attack on national museum

Roadside bomb kills two Egypt soldiers in restive Sinai

‘Islamic State’ woos Syria children with money: More than 400 recruited in 2015 alone