SECRETARY-GENERAL "DEEPLY ALARMED" BY RAPIDLY ESCALATING VIOLENCE IN MIDDLE EAST
Calls on Prime Minister Sharon,
NEW YORK, 29 March (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
The Secretary-General is deeply alarmed by the rapidly escalating violence in the Middle East. Just as the Arab League Summit in Beirut presented a new opening for peace, the enemies of peace have carried out terrorist attacks against innocent Israeli civilians. The purpose of these attacks is to undermine any prospect for a political settlement.
Yet, destroying the Palestinian Authority will not bring peace; it will bring the region even closer to war.
The Secretary-General calls on both Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Chairman Yasser Arafat to exercise responsible leadership at this time. He urges them to take advantage of the outcome of the Arab League Summit in Beirut, which outlined a vision for full peace in the region. He specifically calls on Chairman Arafat to accept the ceasefire proposal tabled by United States Special Envoy Anthony Zinni, and he calls on Prime Minister Sharon to halt the assault on the Palestinian Authority.
The way out of this escalating and vicious cycle of reprisals and counter-violence is for both parties to move ahead as speedily as possible, via the Mitchell recommendations, to achieve the two-State vision expressed in Security Council resolution 1397 of 12 March 2002.
* *** *