Source Pravda.Ru

Triumphant or defeated? Colin Powell winds up his Mideast trip

Colin Powell is leaving the Middle East empty-handed. He failed to cease the bloodshed, no agreement on Israeli troops’ withdrawal was achieved either, no anti-Hezbollah coalition was founded, etc. Still, one more chance is left for him to improve the situation and get back triumphant, not defeated to the USA.

Today the US Secretary of State is to meet with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat once again and he will persuade Arafat to cease fire between Palestine and Israel. An important condition will be introduced for Palestine, that implies cessation of terrorism attacks against Israeli civilians. In addition, Washington has developed a list of additional terms to be made for Palestine. The USA insists, co-operation with Israel is to be resumed, the extremists responsible for a series of attacks are to be arrested.

Observers say, Washington has taken off its so much onerous hypocrisy mask and is exerting an undisguised pressure on the Palestinian Authority. The strongest argument, money, it to be given a start to. The US President revises the financial aid program twice a year, last time he introduced several terms to be necessarily observed for getting assistance with the regional situation in the future. The USA does not give money to the Palestinian Authority directly, instead, the financing goes to particular West Bank and Gaza strip projects. This year Washington will transfer $75 million to the area. At the same time Israel is to get about $3 billion. The sums are fixed in military grants.

When it comes to money, lofty ideals decrease in value. It is very likely, Arafat will change his viewpoint today.

At the same time, judging from latest information, even before a second meeting with the US Secretary of State Arafat calls Powell’s Mideast mission a failure. In an interview to Tunisian television he stressed, Powell did not succeed as for withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian territories. He is speaking so simply because he does not even guess what terms Washington is going to present.

Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/04/17/39852.html