Vice President Cheney
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Cheney: Palestinian state 'long overdue'

US vice president meets in Ramallah with Palestinian President Abbas, says 'painful concessions' required from Israeli, Palestinians if peace agreement is to be reached. Abbas slams Israel for settlement expansion, checkpoints and military operations

A Mideast peace agreement will require "painful concessions" by Israelis and Palestinians who must work together to defeat those "committed to violence," US Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday.


After meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Cheney stressed the US commitment to the creation of an independent Palestinian state, saying it was "long overdue."


"Achieving that vision will require tremendous effort at the negotiating table and painful concessions on both sides," said Cheney, whose stop in Ramallah came just two months after US President George W. Bush's trip to the West Bank.

Cheney and Abbas in Ramallah (Photo: AFP)


"It also will require a determination to keep those who are committed to violence and who refuse to accept the basic right of the other side to exist," Cheney said.


"Terror and violence do not merely kill innocent civilians, they also kill the legitimate hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian people," Cheney said.


In their meeting, Abbas asked Cheney to help stop Israeli settlement expansion and military operations targeting militants, said Saeb Erekat, an Abbas aide.


Abbas: Support from US required

Speaking at the news conference, Abbas thanked Cheney for US support. But he also lashed out at Israel's settlements and checkpoints, and called for an end to Israeli military operations.


"Peace and security can't be achieved through settlement expansion and building barriers," he said. To reach peace, Abbas said, "What is required is will, courage and strong support from the international community, especially the US."


In his remarks, Cheney said, "A negotiated end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - one that addresses the legitimate national claims of both people - will have limitless value. Years of mistrust ad violence have achieved nothing, and the extremists who have stood in the way of a settlement have only caused further grief and suffering to the Palestinian and Israeli people." "


"No one," he said, "deserves to go through life in a climate of fear of deprivation. ... That should not be and must not be the direction of events in this region."


Before the session, aides to Abbas said Abbas would tell Cheney there had been little progress in peace talks since the Palestinian leader and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resumed talks at a November conference hosted by Bush in Maryland.


Cheney said "the future belongs to the advocates of peace and reconciliation." He cited Bush as saying that "the establishment of the state of Palestinian is long overdue." The Bush administration, Cheney said, will commit resources to help the Palestinians build the infrastructure necessary to prosper. With hard work, he added, "Success will be achieved."


פרסום ראשון: 03.23.08, 16:47
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