On Tuesday the special representatives of Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations will discuss in London the initiative of the Bush administration on the Middle East settlement, reported the sources in the US Department of State. Earlier US Secretary of State Colin Powell said, talking with reporters, that his deputy for the Middle East William Berns will go to London on his instructions to meet his colleagues and work out a specific working plan for the Middle East settlement. The aim of the new plan of the United States is to render assistance to the Palestinian leadership in conducting its own reform. This implies the searches for methods to de-concentrate power inside the Palestinian movement so that it could be impossible for one man to hold all power.
The consultations are expected to last for a whole week. After that, the US Secretary of State will join the process. Later he plans to meet with his colleagues in the Middle East four-member group.
In the opinion of the American administration, by the beginning of the next year, when elections will be held in the Palestinian National Authority, it is necessary to help promote new Palestinian leaders who will be able to start reforms inside Palestinian society. Washington believes that if Yasser Arafat is re-elected, this will not improve the situation, and the Palestinians should think about the consequences of such a choice.
At the meeting in London, Russia will be represented by special representative of the Russian Foreign Minister for the Middle Eastern settlement Andrei Vdovin.
After the London negotiations US special representative William Berns is expected to fly to the Middle East for talks with the Israeli leadership and a number of the Arab leaders.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969