Quraya slams 'unilateral' Sharon

Palestinian prime minister Ahmad Quraya criticised Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Saturday during talks with US Middle East envoy David Satterfield.

    Quraya held talks with US Middle East envoy David Satterfield

    Quraya denounced Sharon's actions as being "unilateral measures" that would damage any attempts to find a just
    and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis.


    "We reiterated that unilateral actions are an obstacle to peace and we demanded a halt to the building of the wall," Quraya  told reporters after the meeting, referring to a controversial barrier that Israel is building in the West Bank.
    But Quraya said no date had yet been fixed for a widely anticipated summit with Sharon.
    "First we must ensure that there would be results from such a meeting," he said in the town of in al-Azaria adding
    that senior Palestinian cabinet officials and top Sharon aides would soon hold more preparatory talks. 



    On Friday, US President George Bush turned up the heat on Israel, warning against any steps that could hinder the
    creation of an independent Palestinian state. 

    "Israel must be mindful that they don't make decisions that make it hard to create a Palestinian state."

    US President George Bush

    "Israel must be mindful that they don't make decisions that make it hard to create a Palestinian state," he told
    reporters at the White House.

    "It's in Israel's interest that there be a Palestinian state."
    Satterfield, deputy assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, arrived in the region on Friday to renew contacts ahead of an eventual relaunch of the stalled Middle East peace process, US diplomats said.


    Satterfield is due to meet Dov Weisglass, Sharon's chief of staff on Sunday along with Avi Dichter, chief of Israel's
    domestic intelligence service, Shin Beth, and General Aharon Zeevi, chief of military intelligence, the same sources said.


    Under international pressure to be seen to be taking an initiative as alternative peace moves gained steam,

    Sharon began talking of taking "unilateral steps" last month.


    While he remained vague on the nature of these measures, observers have said they are likely to include the evacuation of isolated settlements which are deemed hard to defend.



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