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Annan calls on Israel to halt policy of 'targeted assassinations'

Annan calls on Israel to halt policy of 'targeted assassinations'

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on Israel to halt its practice of "targeted assassinations," urging both sides in the Middle East conflict to reject violence and pursue a political solution to their dispute.

In a statement released by his spokesman, the Secretary-General said he was "deeply disturbed" by Israel's reported decision to continue the targeted assassinations. "This policy is contrary not only to international law, in particular human rights law, but also to general principles of law," the statement noted. It added that the practice also "contradicts the spirit, if not the letter," of the ceasefire agreement recently negotiated by the Director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), George Tenet.

Mr. Annan warned that if the policy is not halted, "it is bound to further aggravate the crisis of confidence between the parties and make an already extremely fragile situation even more precarious."

Appealing to Israel to halt the practice immediately, the Secretary-General emphasized that there is no alternative to a political settlement of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Secretary-General again urged both sides "to eschew violence, adhere to the security agreements already reached and re-initiate a viable political process" by implementing the recommendations contained in the report of the fact-finding committee headed by former US Senator George Mitchell.