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West Asia peace not dead: Powell

Marrakesh (Morocco), Dec. 3 (Reuters): US secretary of state Colin Powell said today the West Asia peace “road map” was not dead, but that he was open to ideas like the unofficial peace plan launched in Switzerland earlier this week.

“The more we talk about peace, the better. I welcome ideas from whatever source,” Powell told a news conference in Marrakesh during a three-nation North African tour, when asked about the symbolic Geneva Accord. “The road map is definitely not dead — it’s a living document,” he said, referring to the US-backed plan to end three years of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

The unofficial Geneva Accord was conceived by Israeli Opposition Left-wingers and Palestinian moderates after violence bereft of serious negotiations even since the US launched the road map in June.

“Our commitment remains to the road map. It’s the only real plan out that’s been adopted by parties,” Powell said. “What we need is commitment from the Palestinian leadership... to fight terrorism with more than words.”

Powell earlier told reporters he expected to meet the authors of the Geneva plan, possibly on Friday.

He said he had a right to meet anyone with ideas on Middle East peace Ä despite Israeli criticism that it would be a mistake to meet the authors of the proposal.

Powell said canvassing a wide range of peacemaking ideas, even if they were from opposition figures, was part of his job.

The U.S. secretary of state met Morocco's King Mohammed on Wednesday to discuss regional issues, including Middle East peace, Iraq, Western Sahara, and accusations by human rights groups of abuses in Morocco after suicide attacks in Casablanca in May.

Powell left Morocco for Algeria, the last leg of his North African visit, on Wednesday afternoon.

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