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Palestinian Authority accepts U.S. mechanism to implement roadmap plan
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10:56, November 11, 2007

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The Palestinian Authority (PA) has accepted a U.S. mechanism to implement the roadmap peace plan and its first phase is supposed to be started immediately, Palestinian chief negotiator Ahmed Qurei said Saturday.

The roadmap plan was declared in 2002 by U.S. President George W. Bush who called for creating a viable and democratic Palestinian statehood alongside Israel which should be secured.

The U.S., the EU, Russia and the UN -- known as the International Quartet -- are the four entities that sponsor the implantation of the plan, which has stopped in 2003 due to violence between Israel and Palestinian militant groups.

The first phase of the roadmap plan calls on the Palestinians to crack down on militants while demanding that Israel halt Jewish settlement activity and uproot illegal outposts.

The International Quartet was supposed to follow up the applying of the plan since it was finalized in 2003. But Israel later refused to stick to its obligations when the plan was about to take effect.

"We have accepted the American offer which stipulates that the U.S. administration be the judge," Qurei told Ramallah-based al-Ayyam daily.

It will be the first time that the U.S. takes this role instead of the Quartet.

According to Qurei, a three-way Palestinian, Israeli and American committee is being formed to be responsible for supporting the plan's implementation.

Media reports here say that caretaker Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who was appointed after Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in June, would represent the PA at the trilateral committee while Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak will represent Israel.

The progress that was made on the roadmap plan after four years of freeze comes as part of American offers to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

In July, Bush had called for an international peace conference to invite Israel, the Palestinians, Arab and world leaders to resume the peace process and end up with establishing a Palestinian state.

The much-touted peace conference is expected to be held in Annapolis in the U.S. later this month.

Qurei denied reports that the Americans have drafted the joint document to be presented at the upcoming Annapolis conference.

In early October, Israel and the Palestinians formed two negotiating teams to hammer out the joint document over resuming the peace negotiations.

In addition, Qurei described the current talks with Israel as "serious but hard, focusing on all issues," mainly a timetabled mechanism for the negotiations that will follow the Annapolis conference.

The two sides, however, have so far failed to work out the document as the gap between them is huge especially on those final-status issues, including the borders of a Palestinian state, sovereignty of disputed Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees.

While the Palestinians voices demands for a detailed timetable for establishment of a Palestinian statehood, Israel insists that the Palestinians should crack down on militants first.

Source: Xinhua

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