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12/18/02 - POWELL ON THE MIDDLE EAST - 2002-12-18


The United States is committed to helping the peoples and governments of the Middle East. As U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said, U.S. “Middle East Policy has emphasized winning the war on terrorism, disarming Iraq, and bringing the Arab-Israeli conflict to an end.”

Several countries of the region, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, have been terrorist targets. Many countries in the region have stepped up to the challenge by extending basing rights to the U.S.-led coalition for the military campaign in Afghanistan. Countries in the Middle East have also exchanged intelligence and law enforcement information, arrested suspected terrorists, and clamped down on terrorist financing.

The nations of the Middle East have joined with other countries to deal with the danger posed by the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. Secretary of State Powell said, “By unanimously passing Resolution one-four-four-one, the United Nations Security Council has offered Iraq a final opportunity to meet its obligations to peace.”

The U.S., as Mr. Powell put it, has “a deep and abiding national interest in bringing the Israel-Palestine conflict to an end.” President George W. Bush has a vision of a Palestinian state living side by side, in peace, with Israel. But this peace, said Mr. Powell, “will require from the Palestinians a new and different leadership, new institutions, and an end to terror and violence. As the Palestinians make progress in this direction, Israel will also be required to make hard choices, including an end to all settlement construction activity [on the West Bank].”

The creation of a democratic Palestine is necessary and possible. Secretary of State Powell said that the ultimate goal “is a just and comprehensive Arab-Israeli settlement, in which all the peoples of the region are accepted as neighbors, living in peace and security, and building a better future for all the peoples of the region. These challenges,” said Mr. Powell, have been at the forefront of America’s Middle East policy.... [The U.S.] remains committed to meeting each of these challenges...with energy and determination.”

Anncr: That was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government. If you have a comment, please write to Editorials, V-O-A, Washington, D-C, 20237, U-S-A. You may also comment at www-dot-voanews-dot-com-slash-editorials, or fax us at (202) 619-1043.

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