Newsletter : 6fax1113.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
Nov. 13, 1996 V4, #206
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Q. What is the difference between heroin and Abraham?
A. One is the juice of the poppy; the other is the Poppy of the
Christopher Pushes for Peace
By David Gollust (VOA-Paris)
Secretary of State Warren Christopher says the United States will
not relent in its pursuit of a comprehensive Middle East peace
during President Clinton's second term. Christopher is now in Paris
after his 21st -- and in all probability his last -- Middle East
visit as secretary of state.
Christopher met senior Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Cairo in
an unsuccessful attempt to conclude a long-delayed agreement on an
Israeli pullback from the West Bank town of Hebron.
The secretary and his entourage had hoped for a breakthrough on
Hebron during the 24-hour Cairo stop. But US officials said there
was no discernible progress from the separate meetings with
Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister David
At a brief news conference, Christopher said he was more concerned
about reaching an equitable deal than concluding it before his term
as secretary of state comes to an end:
"I don't want to tie anything to my own schedule. I think it's
important that a Hebron agreement be reached, but that it be right
and fair and one that's do-able when it is finally reached. But I
have confidence that it will be reached."
US officials say the negotiations are covering not only the terms
of an Israeli redeployment from Hebron, but related issues --
including Israel's frequent closures of Palestinian areas and its
resistance to the Palestinian drive to open an international
airport in Gaza.
The secretary instructed US envoy Dennis Ross to remain in Cairo
for a few days to try to further the dialogue, but officials said
Ross had no intention of spending weeks in the area -- as he has
in the recent past -- trying to bridge the gaps.
Christopher made clear there would be no let-up in the Clinton
administration's commitment to Middle East peacemaking, despite his
imminent departure. He said his successor at the State Department
will be similarly engaged to, as he put it, "close the circle of
peace" in the region:
"The peace process cannot stand still. It needs to be in motion. It
needs to be moving forward lest it not move backward through some
untoward incidents. The United States will do its part. I think
President Clinton is pledged in his second term to continue to be
active in the peace process."
Christopher was in Cairo for the opening of the third annual Middle
East Economic Conference designed to reinforce Arab-Israeli peace
efforts with regional trade agreements.
Middle East Economic Conference Calls for Peace
By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)
The third annual Middle East and North Africa economic conference
opened Tuesday in Cairo with calls for lasting peace and durable
prosperity for the region. But the stalemated peace process in the
Middle East has overshadowed the meeting, where more than 3,000
business leaders, government officials and international financiers
have gathered to look at business prospects in the region.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak opened the 3-day forum with a
reminder that the Middle East is at a critical crossroads in its
history with no alternative but peace in its future.
Klaus Schwab, whose World Economic Forum organized the conference,
calls the Cairo meeting a forceful rally of business leaders for
peace and prosperity.
Secretary of State Warren Christopher underlined just how far the
region has moved toward full Arab-Israeli peace since the process
was launched five years ago. But he says more needs to be done.
Christopher said integrating the region will make war less likely.
But the Cairo meeting takes place under a general cloud of gloom
that surrounds the stalemated peace process.
Ireland's foreign minister, Dick Spring, won a special round of
applause when he appealed for Israel to make peace with its Arab
neighbors, based on the principle of land for peace. The audience
applauded again when he insisted that a regional peace must include
economic benefits for Palestinians.
Several Palestinian business executives are boycotting the
conference to protest Israel's continual closure of the West Bank
and Gaza, which is crippling their economy.
Still, Egyptian officials are highlighting the positive and
stressing the unusually high turnout of business leaders from
inside and outside the region. The 3-day meeting aims at making the
Middle East and North Africa more competitive in the global market
for investment and development.
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