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UN envoy tells Arafat words not enough to end terror; calls attacks 'murder'

UN envoy tells Arafat words not enough to end terror; calls attacks 'murder'

One day after meeting with the Israeli Foreign Minister to express sympathy in the aftermath of "cruel and despicable" suicide bombings, the top United Nations envoy in the Middle East held talks today with Chairman Yasser Arafat, telling the Palestinian leader that there was an urgent need for action to stop such terrorism.

"In the meeting tonight, I welcomed the statement of Chairman Arafat condemning the practice of suicide bombing, but I told him once again that words are not enough," Terje Roed-Larsen, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, told the press in Ramallah. "I believe that only concerted efforts within Palestinian society turn back the tide of these attacks."

"There is only one word for these wanton and indiscriminate attacks against men, women and children - that is murder," said Mr. Roed-Larsen. He added that Secretary-General Kofi Annan had consistently reiterated his deep and personal disgust at attacks on Israeli civilians, condemning them as both morally repugnant and violating international law.

The UN envoy also pointed to the fact that Palestinian and other Arab voices were starting to say that the real and legitimate aspirations of Palestinians were being held hostage to these inhumane acts.

Mr. Roed-Larsen emphasized that he acknowledged the suffering of the Palestinian people. "The economic crisis in the West Bank and Gaza is acute and worsening," he said. "That suffering, though, will not be helped by suicide bombings."

He stressed that the ultimate way to end to this violence must be a credible peace process leading to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state and permanent security for Israel.