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Netanyahu says peace process will continue

Netanyahu

Hussein calls on Israel to ease life for Palestinians

May 1, 1997
Web posted at: 10:30 p.m. EDT (0230 GMT)

ATLANTA (CNN) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday "the peace process is not dead, it is what we will it to be," and called again for final settlement talks with the Palestinian Authority.

Jordan's King Hussein said he though it "tragic" that peace prospects "have been dimmed."

Hussein

The two Mideast leaders spoke via satellite to the CNN World Report Conference, Netanyahu from Jerusalem and King Hussein from Amman.

In his address, Netanyahu said Israel will soon begin building Arab housing in Jerusalem in a disputed area where Jewish housing is now under construction.







icon (476K/22 sec. AIFF or WAV sound - Netanyahu)

Netanyahu said the Israeli government has not decided on any new settlements. He said the construction now planned is inside existing city boundaries.

King Hussein called on Israel not to start any new settlements, saying, "any change on the ground only helps create greater difficulties."


icon (595K/30 sec. AIFF or WAV sound - Hussein)

The king called Jerusalem the "symbol and essence of that peace" and called for open access to all sides to religious sites."

Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat was invited to join Netanyahu and Hussein, but was unable to participate.

Netanyahu said he agreed with Hussein that Jerusalem should be an "open city" with "religious sovereignty" guaranteed in a final settlement with the Palestinians.

Peace prospects, Hussein said, "have been dimmed by events, and the minority of extremists ... have dictated their agenda upon us. This is indeed tragic. Because I believe the overwhelming majority of Palestinians, Israelis, Jordanians and all Arabs want a just, durable peace."

He said, "This is a time for action. It is a time for wisdom and it is a time for humility. It is a time not to demean each other ... We hope it will not be long before the rift valley will no longer be a rift valley between us but will be a valley of peace."

Hussein called on Israel to help improve the life of Palestinians by opening borders and helping with an airport and seaport in Gaza. He called for more quiet diplomacy "and for all of us to stop talking publicly."

Netanyahu said he had already responded, opening the borders of Israel to Palestinian workers. He said his government was also considering a new plan that would make it, easier for Palestinians to obtain identification cards for Jerusalem.

But Netanyahu said "the most essential component of peace -- security -- has been absent." He said the Palestinian Authority had helped in the past. "There has been cooperation," he said. "It recently stopped."

Netanyahu called on the Palestinian Authority to fight terrorism because terrorist attacks hurt Palestinians when borders are closed and economic development curbed.

"Unfortunately they did not fulfill the promise they made to Prime Minister Rabin to crack down on extremists," said Netanyahu. "I'm not as pessimistic as some. I have no illusions we can achieve 100 percent against terror. We do expect 100 percent effort for peace against terrorism."

Netanyahu praised Jordan, saying when a soldier opened fire at a border crossing, killing several school girls, "we saw how Jordan worked with us." He said "King Hussein's visit with the families of those killed was "historic and moving."

"It is this kind of attitude that must be at the core at what we seek to achieve," Netanyahu said.

 
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Struggle For Peace
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World Report Conference
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