Saudi Peace Plan Is Finding Resistance in UN


By Barbara Crossette

New York Times
March 29, 2002

The Saudi plan for putting an end to conflict in the Middle East, based on Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories in return for normal relations with Arab nations, is not likely to be endorsed quickly by the Security Council, diplomats said here today.

Even leaving aside the contradictory reactions the proposal has elicited from the Israeli government and Palestinians, there may be obstacles created by the plan itself as backed by the summit-level meeting of Arab leaders in Beirut.

Some provisions in the plan run counter to existing Security Council resolutions, an official here said. Among these is the call by the Saudi plan for an Israeli withdrawal from Lebanese territory. The Council does not consider Israel to be in control of any Lebanese land after the Israeli withdrawal from the border area two years ago. In Beirut this week, Lebanon revived its claim to a small part of the Israeli-held Golan Heights known as the Sheba Farms.

A Council member said today that Arab governments are expected to test opinions on the Council, and particularly the attitude of the United States, before calling for any action on the plan. But Syria, now a member of the Security Council member, would be free to circulate the Arab document for consideration.

As of this afternoon, no official text of the Arab plan had been distributed, and no requests had been made for a Council meeting on the issue. Secretary General Kofi Annan is expected to brief the Council early next week on his talks with Arab leaders in Beirut and his assessment of the situation. Today he condemned the suicide bomber attack in Netanya, Israel, on Wednesday as "morally repugnant."

"Last night's heartless and indiscriminate attack in Netanya was an especially appalling example of this phenomenon," he said of suicide bombings in civilian areas. "This is terrorism, and it greatly damages the Palestinian cause." Mr. Annan has been outspokenly critical of both Israel and the Palestinians as the current round of violence has run out of control.

"I believe profoundly in the right of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security," Mr. Annan said today. "I have just spoken to both Prime Minister Sharon and Chairman Arafat. I urge the leadership of both peoples to stay the course and continue the quest for peace. The essential first step is an immediate cease-fire."

The United Nations is effectively closed for a long Good Friday-Easter weekend, except for immediate emergencies, and the cCouncil would not normally meet Monday because the first day of a new month is always set aside for conferences about the month's agenda.

On April 1, Russia takes over the Council presidency from Norway.

More Information on the Peace Process

FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C íŸ 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.