Ex-US cabinet members support ME peace plan
WASHINGTON: Seven former US cabinet members issued an open letter backing an unofficial Middle East peace plan Friday as the authors of the plan met with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
“We believe that the best way to move forward is to address at the outset, not at the end of an incremental process, all the basic principles of a fair and lasting solution. Postponing the final outcome makes any progress hostage to extremists on both sides,” said the letter.
Signers included Warren Christopher, secretary of state under president Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997 and Robert McNamara, secretary of defense from 1961-1968 under presidents John F Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Four former national security advisors and another former defense secretary were among the group, drawn from Republican and Democratic administrations stretching back 40 years.
The letter was released as the two main architects of the Geneva Accord, Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo, met with US Secretary of State Colin Powell in Washington and with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan at the United Nations.
“A process must be devised to give practical and political expression to the heartfelt desire of clear majorities on both sides to end this conflict once and for all,” they wrote. Both the Geneva Accord and the People’s Voice Initiative, a separate statement drafted by Israeli Ami Ayalon and Palestinian Sari Nusseibeh, “reflect that public opinion, and can help give it new momentum,” the letter said. —AFP