Mideast Peace Plan's Sponsors Dismayed at Lack of Progress

(New York Times) Secretary of State Colin Powell joined with envoys from Europe, Russia, and the UN on Wednesday to express "deep concern" about the lack of progress in easing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The envoys went a bit further than in past statements in expressing dismay over Israel's failure to freeze settlements or improve conditions for Palestinians in the West Bank, and over the Palestinians' failure to prepare for an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Officials said there had been plans for a separate meeting of Palestinian representatives and the Arab, European, and American officials who together subsidize the Palestinian budget with more than $1 billion annually. But a meeting to discuss how the Palestinians could prepare to take over the houses, schools, hospitals, and other facilities Israel would be leaving behind in Gaza was canceled because of a Palestinian decision to boycott it. Powell withheld judgment on news reports from Jerusalem quoting Israeli officials as saying they reserved the right to attack Iranian nuclear weapons sites. "I am not aware of any plans to attack Iran," Powell said. "Every nation has all options available to it."

2004-09-23 00:00:00

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