Davos hears hopes for Mideast peace

Palestinian and Israeli leaders share optimism at the World Economic Forum.

    Mahmoud Abbas, centre, shared the stage with Israeli leaders at Davos [AFP]

    The Israeli foreign minister said "the establishment of a Palestinian state and homeland for the Palestenians is the answer, the national answer to the Palestinians wherever they are".


    At the same time, she stressed that Israel would never "allow"  a Palestinian state that was "ruled by a terrorist organisation".


    Iran issue


    On the subject of Iran, Shaukat Aziz, the Pakistani prime minister, said attacking the coutry to halt its nuclear programme would be "catastrophic" for the region and the world.


    "If there is military action, it will have catastrophic results, not only in the region, but the whole world," Aziz said during a panel discussion on nuclear proliferation.


    Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said diplomacy was the only solution to the impasse.


    "We have to invest in peace," he said and added that if the international community fails to do that "the consequence will be 10 times worse".


    Climate change


    At a separate session, developing countries, who stand to suffer the worst effects of climate change, said they would not shoulder full responsibility for a problem created mainly by the rich.


    At the gathering of 2,400 of the world's most powerful people, leaders from India, China and Brazil asserted a right to grow their own economies, even if greenhouse gas levels rise as a result.


    "Compromising with the growth objective is simply out," said Montek Ahluwalia, deputy chief of India's planning commission.


    Noting that many rich signatories to the Kyoto Protocol - an international climate change treaty - have missed their emissions-cutting targets, Ahluwalia said the developing world wanted stronger support to help them reach environmental goals.


    Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice-chairman of the Chinese national development and reform commission, told the same meeting that while China was committed to using energy more efficiently, the main burden for fighting global warming lay with Western powers.


    "Apart from our own efforts we expect developed countries to play a more fundamental role."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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