PA Terrorism Not on the Agenda at London Conference

Today's London conference for the Pal. Authority has prepared a final statement that does not mention terrorism. Israel has said it would regard such an omission as a violation of PA commitments.

, | updated: 1:38 PM

Conference officials so far have accepted a PA request for a general statement in favor of security coordination that will contribute to the peace process and prevent violence. The PA insisted that references to Kassam rockets and terror attacks be omitted. At the same time, Britain, as the conference host, rejected an Israeli request that the conference include a specific PA commitment regarding security.

Dov Weisglass, aide to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, was told that US Secretary Condoleezza Rice and British Prime Minister Tony Blair will instead refer in their speeches to the need for the PA to break up the terrorist network.

Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz said today that despite a decrease in terrorism, and despite a measure of cooperation on security matters with the PA, terrorism has not yet stopped. He specifically blamed Syria and the Islamic Jihad for their activities to "murder Israelis and sabotage the peace process." Mofaz said, however, that the main onus is upon the PA for not actively seeking to stop the terror organizations.

On her way to the London conference yesterday, Secretary Rice said, "The first phase of the Road Map, of course, requires the Palestinian Authority to deal with terrorism and to begin dismantling the terrorist infrastructure. And so that's what we will be looking for."

Haaretz quoted unnamed government sources as saying that the London meeting’s summary statement would in any event be turned into 'a piece of paper' the day after the conference, meaning it would have no lasting significance.

Government representatives from 23 Arab and European nations, as well as UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, are in attendance at the one-day conference. Israel, for its part, elected not to participate.
London conference in support of the Palestinian Authority

For PA head Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), the London gathering is seen as an opportunity to ask "that Britain and the international community mobilize all their resources to help us achieve the peace process we have engaged in." He is seeking to secure support from the world community, "financially, morally and politically."

Speaking with the BBC, Abbas said, "We expect President Bush to implement his own vision of a two-state solution, the birth of a Palestinian state and end the occupation that started in 1967."

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair confirmed Abbas' understanding of the purpose of the conference in his opening statement. Mr. Blair said that the gathered envoys were to hopefully give "substance to the good will" shown thus far towards the new PA leadership.

The London conference participants are expected to affirm the creation of a US-led coordinating committee on PA economic reforms. An international meeting of nations expected to further fund the PA is planned for the end of June. The World Bank is also expected to lead a renewed push for private investment in the PA, alongside state-supported loan guarantees.