Leaders of the world’s major industrial democracies warned Sunday that the Middle East peace process “faces a crisis” and said “we are determined to reinject momentum into it.”
That sharp language, which included thinly veiled criticisms of Israel, was part of a 90-point communique stating conclusions reached over three days of talks in Denver at the Summit of the Eight by leaders from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Japan and Russia.
Discord broke out again Sunday among the leaders over how forcefully to attack the challenge of global warming. They differed as well over NATO expansion and when to pull troops out of Bosnia. But on most global challenges, the leaders shared common views - none more than on the Middle East.
In a clear reference to Israel, the eight leaders noted pointedly that “both sides must refrain from actions that impede the peace process by pre-empting permanent-status negotiations.”
The Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has angered Palestinians by moving unilaterally to annex portions of Jerusalem, which both Arabs and Jews regard as their holy homeland.
Under the Oslo Accords that created the current Middle East peace process, Jerusalem’s political status was to be determined as the last step of comprehensive negotiations.
In their communique, the eight leaders vowed: “We shall do our utmost to reinvigorate implementation of the Oslo Accords.”
Discord broke out over the issue of global warming for the second day in a row, however. Clinton refused to accept the Europeans’ commitment to cut so-called greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent below 1990 levels by 2010, prompting open criticism.
“I am frankly disappointed,” said Jacques Santer, president of the European Commission, a participant in Denver. “We must stop the degradation of our climate. The future of the planet is at stake.”
In their communique, the eight said they “intend to commit to meaningful, realistic and equitable targets that will result in reductions of greenhouse gas emissions by 2010.” But Clinton refused to accept any target.
Clinton wants to negotiate a global framework on how to deal with climate change before committing to a firm goal, said White House aide Dan Tarullo.
On other topics, the eight leaders in their communique:
Agreed to develop a global surveillance network to detect outbreaks of infectious disease and coordinate responses to them;
Vowed to work together on an AIDS vaccine;
Focused their anti-crime efforts for the next year on pursuit of high-tech criminals “such as those tampering with computer and telecommunications technology;”
Called for a prohibition on cloning humans;
Called upon China to let Hong Kong retain its separate economic and political liberties after Beijing assumes control of the city July 1.