Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Alternative Mideast Peace Plan Launched in Geneva: ""It's unlikely that we shall ever see a more promising foundation for peace," former US president Jimmy Carter said as the public ceremony got under way at a conference center near UN headquarters. "The only alternative to this initiative is sustained and permanent violence," he added."

"The plan has no official international backing, but has drawn European support and encouragement from US Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as a statement of support issued Monday by 58 former leaders. In an appeal published in the International Herald Tribune, the signatories including former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and former UN secretary general Boutros Boutros-Ghali called on the United States and other key players in the Middle East to build on the momentum of the Geneva Initiative, saying that the conflict 'has taken far too great a toll already.'"

"But it has been rejected outright by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who denounced it as "dangerous" ... The initiative has been rejected by the main Palestinian factions with groups such as Hamas particularly angered by its implicit renunciation of the right of return for Palestinians."

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