The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Israel in rare US rebuke

Jerusalem, Dec. 2 (Reuters): Israel issued a rare rebuke to Washington, its closest ally, today, saying US secretary of state Colin Powell would be making a mistake if he met the architects of a symbolic West Asia peace plan.

Vice-Premier Ehud Olmert sharply criticised Powell for praising the unofficial Geneva Accord, whose co-authors are trying to capitalise on broad international support following its launch yesterday at a gala ceremony in Switzerland.

Both Israel’s Right-leaning government and Palestinian militants spearheading a three-year-old uprising have denounced the agreement, drafted by moderates from both sides, as “capitulation”.

US officials say Powell is willing to meet the plan’s co-authors in Washington later this week, a sign of growing impatience with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s foot-dragging on a stalled peace road map.

“I think he (Powell) is making a mistake,” Olmert said of the expected talks. “I think he is not helping the process. I think this is a wrong step by a representative of the American administration.”

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