NAM demands israeli withdrawal

Ministers of the 114-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) have called for "the immediate and full withdrawal" of Israeli forces from Palestinian cities.

A communique issued after a three-day meeting in the South African port city of Durban on Monday said the ministers expressed outrage and "condemned the wilful killing, vast destruction and other atrocities committed by the Israeli occupying forces against the Palestinian people, especially since the start of the Israeli military assault on Palestinian cities and the Palestinian Authority on 29th March 2002".

Ministers said they were "gravely" concerned "about reports on war crimes and massacres committed in the Jenin refugee camp and in other Palestinian cities."

"The ministers rejected what has become an Israeli culture of acting with impunity and with disregard for resolutions of the UN Security Council," in reference to the most recent Israeli rejection of plans to send a UN fact-finding mission to the shattered Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank.

The NAM ministers also agreed on organising a delegation to visit Palestinian territories and express solidarity with the Palestinian leader and the Palestinian people. The NAM committee on Palestine had already met here on Saturday, to find a way to to move towards "appropriate action" to demonstrate support for the Palestinian people and their leaders and to support efforts to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 1402 and 1403 was endorsed as "the first step for ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land occupied since 1967".

The ministers said they welcomed Security Council resolution 1405 on the "dire humanitarian situation of the Palestinian civilian population". They also expressed support for the fact-finding team dispatched by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, but blocked by Israeil.

The ministers also recalled the "international liability regarding grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention" and called for "actions against the perpetrators by the United Nations system".

Calls for an "immediate end to the violence, killing and destruction" and the resumption of peace negotiations which would culminate in the founding of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital were also made, and the ministers called for "an increased international role including that of the Security Council and the Secretary General".