PLO leader decries U.S. peace effort

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A Palestinian leader said U.S. officials need international help in brokering Mideast peace talks because "they are biased" toward Israel and their efforts so far have failed.

"The United States, who was the only superpower in this world and was expected to do something, did nothing," Farouk Kaddoumi, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization political department, said Tuesday of the shattered 1993 Oslo peace process.

"We wasted our time," Kaddoumi said in a speech at the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine.

"The United States will remain (as a broker) … but we want the European countries to help them," he said.

The United Nations also should participate since it partitioned Palestine into two states — one Jewish and one Arab — with a November 1947 General Assembly resolution.

Asked what the Palestinians should do next, he said they are doing it.

"Now, after the failure of the peace process, we started our intifada," he said of the past two months of violence in occupied territories. "That’s what we have done."

Asked if he believes a new U.S. administration, particularly one under George W. Bush, will be more sympathetic to the Palestinian position, he said, "Let’s wait and see."

"I don’t have too much trust in the Americans, because they are biased," Kaddoumi said.

Palestinian officials have blamed the violence partly on frustration over too little progress in peace talks and have called repeatedly in recent weeks for expanded participation in a new peace process.

The Clinton administration has said others are welcome to help in mediation but that the United States remains the most reliable broker for peace in the Middle East.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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