U.N. Security Council Approves Creation Of Palestinian State
(CNSNews.com) - In a vote just before midnight on Tuesday, the United Nations Security Council, including the United States, voted to approve a resolution calling for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Supporters said the council was affirming a vision of the Middle East as a region "where two states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders."
The resolution passed on a 14 to nothing vote with Syria abstaining.
During a news conference in Egypt, Vice President Dick Cheney reacted favorably to the resolution.
"It once again reaffirms the commitment the president made earlier this year, that our vision for the Israelis and Palestinians is in two sovereign states that are able to reside in peace with one another," said Cheney.
"The president has made clear," Cheney continued, "that the U.S. vision for that part of the world includes that of a Palestinian homeland as well. The resolution that was adopted last night was in fact we felt a positive statement in the hopes that we can in fact make progress."
The secretary general of the Palestinian Authority, Ahmed Abdel Rahman, told BBC radio that the resolution marked "an advance for the resistance of the Palestinian people."
Israel's U.N. Ambassador, Yehuda Lancry told BBC, he welcomed a "balanced" Security Council resolution on the Middle East, which he called "a rare and remarkable occurrence."
The Security Council also called on both the Israelis and the Palestinians and their leaders to cooperate in implementing the Tenet ceasefire plan and Mitchell recommendations for peace in the region.
The ceasefire plan was drawn up last year by U.S. Central Intelligence Agency chief George Tenet and requires Israel to withdraw its troops to positions they held before the uprising was launched in September 2000, while the Palestinian Authority would be expected to make an all-out effort to prevent further attacks.
The Mitchell plan drawn up by former Maine Sen. George Mitchell details measures towards peace talks, with the aim of resuming negotiations on a political settlement.
The council also encouraged the diplomatic efforts of special envoys from the United States, the Russian Federation and the European Union, as well as the United Nations and others "to bring about a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East."
It also welcomed a peace plan proposed by Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah.
Syrian representative Mikhail Wehbe said after the vote that his country abstained because the resolution did not deal with the root question of the Israeli presence in various areas in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, Arab states continue to push a proposal by Saudi Arabia, which calls for Israel to withdraw to the borders that existed between Israel and Egypt, Jordan and Syria before the 1967 Six Day War.
That same Arab proposal also expects Israel to agree to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital, according to a statement by Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal last weekend.
Arab leaders are expected to discuss all the proposals at a summit in Beirut on March 27.
E-mail a news tip to Jim Burns.
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