Palestinian state in 2003?

Plans are under way for the creation of a Palestinian state in 2003 as the European Union and USA declare their support for an international conference on the Middle East. With Arab states in favour, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak takes the 2003 deal to Blair and Bush.

The EU and USA favour an international peace conference on the Middle East this summer, a move which is welcomed by the Arab states and the Palestinian Authority. However, they underline the need to make careful preparations.

Nabil Shaath, Palestinian Minister for International Cooperation, declared that “It should have a calendar (for negotiations), it should be accompanied by international guarantees and should be based on the Arab peace plan”, in which Israel leaves the Gaza Strip and most of the West Bank for the Palestinians to set up a separate State.

Amr Mussa, the Secretary General of the Arab League, states that he is in favour of the conference, given that it is well prepared and that concrete results come out of it. Too often, the international community makes noises about Israel but these are not translated into action.

Saudi Arabia, supported by the Arab world in general, affirms that it wants the Saudi Peace Plan as the central negotiating issue at the conference. Meanwhile, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak discussed the issue of the creation of a Palestinian state by 2003 with Tony Blair on Wednesday in London and will bring up the subject with President Bush in Washington at the weekend.


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