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America's New War: Israel and Palestine to Implement Mitchell Report

Aired September 26, 2001 - 06:09   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, important to the backdrop in this fight against terrorism is the political flash point of relations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, a very critical meeting taking place today in Israel.

We go to CNN's Mike Hanna with the results of that meeting.

Mike, what happened?

MIKE HANNA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the meeting has taken place in the Gaza Strip between Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and the Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat -- a long awaited meeting and as you say, critical in terms of U.S. attempts to form an international coalition against terror. The U.S. wants the conflict here out of the frame while it continues with its wider efforts.

The meeting lasted some two hours. A spokesman for the two principals emerged from the talks with a joint statement. The statement read by chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAEB ERAKAT, CHIEF PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATOR: The President Yasser Arafat and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres met on September 22, 2001 and reiterated their full commitment to the implementation of the Mitchell recommendations and the tenant understandings.

To this end, both sides agree to establish a joint committee of senior representatives in order to deal with any issue that may arise from the implementation of the Mitchell recommendations and the tenant understandings. The two sides will resume full security cooperation and exert maximum efforts to sustain the declared cease-fire.

In accordance with the parties commitments, they will carry out all their security obligations emanating from previous agreements. And the government of Israel will begin to lift closures and redeploy its forces.

The two sides agree that President Arafat and Foreign Minister Peres will have a second meeting within a week or so. Both sides wish to extend their appreciation to all countries and leaders who encouraged our endeavor to facilitate the peace process.

Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

ERAKAT: Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNA: Well, the first step in cementing and codifying a cease fire. This intended to lead down the line to a resumption of full negotiations, most importantly, an attempt to end the ongoing cycle of violence that has continued for some 12 months -- a cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians that provides a great obstacle to the U.S.' attempts to form an international coalition against terror.

So this meeting brought about through intense U.S. pressure. It has concluded with a promise for a second meeting within the next week, a promise to form a joint committee to review the various recommendations as how to bring about a lasting truce and a commitment to institute a joint security arrangement between the two sides.

In the statement, a significant move in terms of its application on the ground. That is something we'll have to see in the days ahead.

Back to you.

LIN: Mike, let me pick up very quickly on this last point, this is very significant when you talk about security cooperation between the two sides. When you bring it down to the street level, and perhaps we don't know yet what it means right now, but in the past, what has security cooperation meant with the Israelis working with the Palestinians?

HANNA: Well, in the past 12 months each time some kind of a cease-fire agreement has been reached, each time there has been agreement to have security coordination, those agreements have fallen apart within a matter of days -- in some cases, within a matter of hours.

And in terms of the followers of the sides on the ground, there has been ongoing conflict despite the commitments of the leaders. But there's one difference now that has not been in place in the months before and that is the events of September 11 in the United States. Certainly those tragic events focusing the attention of the leaders in this region. And from the Palestinian Authority president, the strongest commitment yet to a cease-fire in the wake of those attacks in the United States.

So observers hope that this time may be different, that the agreements, the commitments by the leaders will be carried through by those immediately under them in terms of their leadership structures and importantly will be carried through by those on the ground who in the past have carried out acts of violence despite the commitment -- the public commitment of their leaders.

LIN: All right, thank you very much. Mike Hanna reporting live from our Jerusalem bureau today -- Leon. LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, with that as a backdrop, the mustering of troops in the U.S. continues. Unabated, the Pentagon has now called on some nearly 2,000 more reservists to active duty and that brings a total number now up to nearly just over 14,000.

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