U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell appealed Thursday for pressure from Arab nations and others in the international community to get radical Palestinian factions to end terrorist attacks. He warned of dire consequences if the international "road map" to an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord is scuttled.
Mr. Powell said it is time that the Arab countries and other concerned parties "step up" and insist that the terrorism perpetrated by organizations such as Hamas comes to an end.
At his joint news conference with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York, the Secretary of State specifically urged Yasser Arafat to put security forces under his control at the disposal of Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas in order to deal with the extremists who he said are determined to "blow up" the peace "road map."
Mr. Powell said the collapse of the "road map" would be "a cliff that both sides will fall off of" and said everyone must understand the consequences if that is allowed to happen.
"The alternative is what? Just more death and destruction? Let the terrorists win? Let those who have no interest in a Palestinian state win? Let those who have no interest but killing innocent people win? No. That is not an acceptable outcome," he said. "And I think both parties realize it and I think both sides should recommit themselves to finding a way forward."
The Bush administration launched a campaign of telephone diplomacy in hope of shoring up the peace process following Tuesday's suicide bus bombing in Jerusalem.
Mr. Powell pressed for the dismantling of terrorist groups in a talk with Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas Wednesday, and dispatched Middle East envoy John Wolf to the area for crisis talks with the two parties and other governments in the region.