|Solana aiming for peace in 6 months|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Friday, 12 January 2007 17:00|
|This link from my friend Jim... |
Javier Solana, the High Representative for the European Common, Foreign and Security Policy, has stated that the EU's goal for setting in place a framework for peace in the Middle East is July 2007. Solana made the comments following the conclusion of the Madrid+15 convention, and believes that if the framework isn't set within six months, it is unlikely a peace agreement could be in place by 2008. This answers my previous question to UK European Minister Geoff Hoon, who skirted the issue rather than giving a definitive answer.
Quote: ""If in the first semester of 2007 we don't get the process at least framed, I don't say finished, but framed, I have my doubts that we will be able to do it before 2008," Mr Solana said. "We have to put the political process in motion," he said at the end of a two-day conference in Madrid that aimed to revive optimism into stalled Middle East peace.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is visiting the region. Rice has stated her goal is to get all the nations involved to come to an agreement over the way forward. She will be examining where past agreements have failed, and will look into the possibility of advancing the "Roadmap to peace" document in such a way that it complies more with the Saudi peace initiative - a withdrawal from all land occupied in 1967 in return for a normalization of relations.
Quote: "According to the plan, if a suitable framework for a Palestinian state is reached, Abbas would then go to his people with a referendum: Do you want it or not? He is convinced that more than 70 percent would vote yes, thus marginalizing the Hamas resisters. Olmert would do the same, and probably get close to the same support. Time reports that the outlines of a two-state framework include a variety of land swaps that would allow Israel to keep some of its major settlements blocs. The issue of Jerusalem and the rights of refugees could be compromised along the lines almost agreed to in 2000, with an international fund providing incentives for Palestinian refugees to return to the new Palestinian state.
As I've said before, whether there is peace in six months or not is entirely another matter. As Christians we know a peace agreement between Europe, the Arab nations and the Israelis will come eventually, we just don't know when. But one thing is for sure, there is more hinging on this peace agreement than there ever was before. King Abdullah II of Jordan knows that, Solana knows that, Olmert knows that and we know it.