|Israel Resource Review
||22nd Febuary, 2007
Palestinian government accuses US of political blackmail
Maan News Agency
Gaza - Ma'an - The Palestinian government has expressed its concern at the
outcome of the Quartet's meeting on Wednesday in Berlin in which the
Quartet - comprising of the EU, UN, US, and Russia - issued a statement
expressing support for a Palestinian government as long as it was "committed
to non-violence and the recognition of Israel".
However, government spokesman Ghazi Hamad, also expressed his hope that the
Quartet was demonstrating signs of a slight change in position and that it
is possible that doors may be opened towards positive cooperation.
The Palestinian minister of information, Dr. Yousef Rizqa, criticized the
US' position in the Quartet meeting, describing it as "negative" and
However, Hamad said in a statement for Ma'an: "The support of the Quartet
for the establishment of a national unity government and the exclusion of
the language of boycott and.siege leaves the door open for the possibility
of future steps after the government is established . We hope that it will
reach a stage of full cooperation."
On behalf of the government, Hamad praised some parts of the Quartet that
clearly supported dealing with the unity government.
But the information minister, Dr. Rizqa, said in a statement for Ma'an that
the American position is directing at obstructing the Russian and European
efforts to end the siege on the Palestinian people. He accused the US
administration of evading the political reality by failing to face up to the
Mecca agreement and dealing with it in a positive manner at an international
Government spokesman Hamad urged that the Mecca agreement constituted a
fundamental step in the Palestinian arena in which the Palestinians united
around a single, national, political program. This united program represents
the foundations, Hamad said, for further steps which will put an end to the
Palestinians' suffering and which will lead to a state of stability in the
region, in addition to establishing a Palestinian national unity government.
Hamad said this program, and a united coalition government, improves the
chances of the Palestinians of acquiring their legitimate rights, above all
their rights to end the occupation and to establish an independent
He also stressed the need for the international community to end the siege
and the Palestinians' suffering and to support the national unity
Rizqa, however, added: "I think that the Bush administration is not serious
about the establishment of a meaningful Palestinian state despite the amount
of talk Bush's administration conducts on this subject. [In addition] the
concept of the state for Bush is still general and undefined in terms of
geography, nature, time and in regards to the issues of the final
He ended by saying, "In brief, the American administration does not respect
either its Arab friends or the Palestinian blood."
On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, High
Representative for European Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana,
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and European Commissioner
for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner met in Berlin to discuss the
situation in the Middle East.
Secretary Rice updated her Quartet colleagues on her recent meetings with
Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian President Abbas. The Quartet
expressed in a press statement following their meeting their hope that these
meetings would represent a "renewed political process, with the aim of
defining more clearly the political horizon and launching meaningful
negotiations." The Quartet also said that it "urged the parties to refrain
from measures that prejudge issues to be resolved in negotiations."
According to the press statement, the Quartet discussed in their meeting
ways to promote "a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle
East." The Quartet also reportedly "welcomed preliminary ideas put forward
by the European Commission to meet the need to better coordinate and
mobilize international assistance in support of the political process and to
meet the needs of the Palestinian people" without clarifying the nature of
The Quartet also agreed to schedule a further meeting between the relevant
parties in the region soon.
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