Monday, January 31, 2005

World Must Give Top Priority To Resolve Israeli-Palestine Conflict

From Wan Nurzila Abdul Rahman

DAVOS (Switzerland), Jan 30 (Bernama) -- The international community must give top priority to peace initiatives to broker a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict to ease the terrorism threat which is a global concern, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Sunday.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the world community must accept the stark reality that it would be impossible to solve the conflict amicably without the United States playing a pivotal role.

"Ending the conflict and establishing an independent and sovereign Palestine state should be the main agenda if we want to seriously reduce the terrorism threat," he told Malaysian journalists before ending his three-day visit here to attend the World Economic Forum from Jan 26 to 30.

Najib said this was among the conclusions made at the informal meeting of economic and financial leaders on the terrorism issue yesterday.

He said some of the leaders expressed confidence in the leadership of newly elected Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas who they felt could bring about positive changes to resolve the protracted conflict.

He said most of the leaders who attended the forum felt that this was the best opportunity to bring the violent and bloody conflict to an end after several of the peace initiatives ended in a deadlock.

"Although several leaders who attended the session are not official representatives of their governments, I can see their views, to a certain extent, mirrored the positive stand of their governments on the issue," he added.

Earlier, Najib participated in the panel discussion entitled "Terrorism - Understanding The Struggle In Which We Are Engaged".

He was joined by the US Republican Senator John McCaine from Arizona, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazzi and Afghanistan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah.

At the session, Najib stressed on the need for the international community to understand that the terrorism issue was more an ideology or political problem and should not be seen from the military aspect merely.

"Among the root causes of hatred and anger among those who become terrorists are dissatisfaction and injustice stemming from embarrassment, suppression and humiliation from the loss of rights to their land and not having an independent and sovereign motherland," he said.

Meanwhile, Najib received US Deputy Secretary of State-designate Robert Zoellick who called on him on the final day of his visit.

During the meeting, Zoellick, among other things, hoped the European Union's initiatives to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power would be successful through the negotiating table.

Najib said Zoellick's appointment as a senior representative of the Bush administration for Southeast Asia and Latin America was a constructive development.

As the former US trade representative, Zoellick had good knowledge and vast experience about the region, he added.

-- BERNAMA

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