Newsletter : 6fax0311.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
March 11, 1996 V4, #45
All the News the Big Guys Missed
World's Nations will Meet in Sinai's Sharm el-Sheik
By Jane Berger (VOA-Washington) & Peyman Pejman (VOA-Cairo)
Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Israeli Prime Minister
Shimon Peres have expressed hope the conference on terrorism in
Egypt this week will revive the Middle East peace process. The men
were questioned on NBC's Meet the Press and ABC's This Week with
Christopher said participants in the Middle East conference must
renew the peace process because it is the only long-term answer to
More than 30 heads of state and governments are expected to attend
the meeting, which was organized after a series of recent suicide
bombings by Islamic militants in Israel threatened to derail
Mideast peace talks.
Christopher welcomed the recent crackdown by Palestinian security
forces against the military wing of Hamas, which is responsible for
the bombing attacks. The secretary said Palestinian President
Yasir Arafat is working hard to deal with the situation.
"We want 100-percent effort from him. Whether you can have
100-percent result, of course, is very difficult when you are
dealing with suicide bombers. But we need to keep pressing him to
take the tough steps that he needs to take. There was a time when
I believe Arafat thought he might be able to deal with Hamas by
dialogue, by trying to bring them into the political process.
That turns out to have been a mistake. It did not succeed. And
now he needs to take the other tack. And one thing this conference
can do is firm him up in the decision to move aggressively against
the military wing of Hamas."
In a separate interview, Peres said all parties should press ahead
with the peace process, despite the wave of terrorist attacks
"Maybe we are at the last step of the peace process. And no wonder
that all the parties that oppose peace, that are afraid of peace,
are mobilizing whatever they may to bring an end to it, when it is
its own end. I do believe that even if we do have to cause this
part of the world, which is full of mines and hatred and killing
and really terrible experience, we should not give up because there
are some very important changes that one should not overlook. I
never saw such an expression of condemnation against terror as the
sympathy toward Israel all over the world, and even within our own
region. The conference is a demonstration of this new air, of this
Peres expressed satisfaction with the Palestinian moves against
Hamas militants, but he said Israel always reserves the right to
defend itself without hesitation.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says the summit at an Egyptian
seaside resort Wednesday is the last chance to save the faltering
Middle East peace process. Mubarak says the hastily-arranged summit
at Sharm el-Sheik had to be called because without a renewed
commitment, the entire Middle East peace process will collapse.
The Egyptian leader, who will co-host the one-day meeting with
President Bill Clinton, says the recent series of suicide bombs
in Israel has pushed the peace process into what he termed a dead
The summit was organized on short notice after a wave of terrorist
attacks by the militant Palestinian group Hamas that killed 61
people and injured more than 150. Hamas is opposed to the
Palestinian-Israeli peace accords.
Although the exact number of summit participants is still unclear,
the White House and State Department say invitations have gone out
to the leaders of 31 countries.
Among those who have confirmed they will take part are President
Boris Yeltsin of Russia, French President Jacques Chirac, German
Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien,
Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Palestinian leader Yasir
Arafat and Jordan's King Hussein.
One country the United States is still anxiously waiting to hear
from is Syria. Christopher has officially extended an invitation
to Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad, but the Syrian president has
refused to attend previous forums where Israelis took part.
To the dismay of the US and Israeli governments, Syria has
stopped short of condemning the recent bombings in Israel. Syria
and Israel have been engaged in protracted peace talks at a
location near Washington. But the latest round of talks,
scheduled for this week, has been canceled.
Mubarak says if world leaders meeting at Sharm el-Sheik can restart
the peace process it would be the only way to put an end to
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