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MINISTERS URGE ISRAEL TO LEAVE PALESTINIAN AREAS

Chief Dubem Onyia, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in Nigeria has advised that Israel should immediately pull out of Palestinian territory.

Chief Dubem Onyia, said this while receiving the Israeli Ambassador, Mr. Ariel Avidor, on April 8, 2002.

He maintained that the war in the Middle East is not a war any party should expect to win, saying that there must be a Palestinian state hand-in-hand with the state of Israel and that the boundaries between the two countries must be recognised and respected.

He added that it is only after Israel would have withdrawn its forces from Palestine that "anybody can talk of a cease fire and registration?" "We are not happy about the suicide bombings, but that is not a condition for Israel to occupy part of Palestine. Mr. Avidor said that no government in the world would remain silent in the face of provocation from Palestine and thus explained that Israel has no intention to remain in their territory.

Alhaji Sule Lamido, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said "As a continent which fought for self-determination, Africa's support for and solidarity with the Palestinians was based on the philosophy of self-determination."

That, he said, is why the OAU Council of Ministers as well as the summit admit the Palestinian Foreign Minister and President respectively every year as well as pass resolutions in solidarity.

Lamido, said the Arab political leaders have not been focussed and determined on the crisis. He criticised Arab leaders for failing to always reciprocate the solidarity of Africans when a resolution process is on, adding that Africa's severance of ties with Israel some two decades ago, was the biggest single ever solidarity for the Palestinians.