Secretary of State Colin Powell says there must be a reduction in violence in the Middle East before there can be any movement towards creation of a Palestinian state. Secretary Powell says Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat must make a total effort to curb bloodshed.
During a televised interview, Colin Powell was asked what Yasser Arafat must do to turn the dream of a Palestinian state into reality. "He needs to get the violence down," he replied. "He needs to make 100 percent effort to end all the violence. And we need to see results that reflect that 100 percent effort."
President Bush has said the United States envisions a Palestinian state emerging from a Mideast peace process that also provides for a safe and secure Israel. Mr. Powell was expected to expand on that theme Monday in a major speech at a university in the state of Kentucky.
But he told the "Fox News Sunday" program that the address would include no new initiatives. "I am not introducing a new plan," he said. "People keep asking for a new plan. We have a plan. It is a solid plan. It is called the Mitchell Committee report. It leads to the kinds of negotiations that are required to settle these issues."
The report was drafted by a panel led by former Senator George Mitchell. It sets out a step-by-step approach to implementation of a cease-fire and the resumption of negotiations. Secretary Powell said, "A new plan coming in from the flank is not what is going to do it. It takes both sides working together, finding ways to talk to each other so that we can get a real cease-fire in place."
There were reports in Israel that Secretary Powell might use the speech to urge Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to drop his demand for seven days of total calm as a condition for implementing the Mitchell committee's recommendations.
When asked about those reports, the secretary of state said only that he can not personally waive the seven-day condition. He said, "I did not impose it. Ariel Sharon did."