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Israel, Palestine agree on ceasefire
February 08, 2005 19:33 IST
Israel and Palestine announced a ceasefire today at the end of a summit meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas at the Egyptian resort city of Sharm e-Sheik.
"We have agreed with PM Sharon to cease all acts of violence against the Israelis and the Palestinians wherever they are," Abbas declared at the conclusion of the meeting.
Sharon spoke of a "new wind" blowing, "and we should not let it pass, leaving us empty handed. We must not miss this opportunity to put a stop to four years of violence; this is a delicate opportunity, and we must be careful."
Referring to his meeting with Abbas before the day's deliberations, Sharon said, "we agreed that the Palestinians will put a stop to violence and Israel will stop its military actions against the Palestinians.
"We must not make do with a temporary stop in violence, but rather be determined and make sure that terror comes to a full stop, for good. We are willing to commit to all the obligations we agreed upon, and expect the same from the other side."
Sharon also congratulated Abbas for "an impressive victory in the PA elections" and thanked Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for hosting the summit.
But though Abbas announced an end to all militant attacks in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip and in Israel, his ability to implement it depends on whether powerful militant groups back his bid.
These groups want total Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, and the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees to Israel.
Israel has instead offered to release to release 900 prisoners, pull back troops from some West Bank cities and stop pursuing wanted men.