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Annan Urges Mideast Leaders to Stop Violence - 2002-03-04

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan urged Middle East leaders to stop the cycle of violence after one of the bloodiest weekends in the region left at least 17 Palestinians and 22 Israelis dead.

Mr. Annan, just back from a trip to Germany where he met with business and labor leaders, immediately turned to the pressing issue of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

He says that he has been working tirelessly in conjunction with the United States, the European Union, and the Russian Federation, to bring the warring parties to the negotiating table.

"We will continue our efforts to try and help the parties to come back from the brink. It is an extremely dangerous situation now. I send my deepest sympathies to the families, both Israeli and Palestinian, who have lost loved ones. And I appeal to the leaders to do whatever they can, whatever possible, to stop the cycle of violence, this cycle of revenge," Mr. Annan said.

Mr. Annan also welcomed Crown Prince Abdullah's plan supporting full Arab ties with Israel in exchange for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the territory it has occupied since the 1967 Mideast war. Mr. Annan said the crisis was at such a critical state that all creative ideas to resolve the conflict should be seriously considered.