Turkey's top advisor says Palestinian unity must be restored

Chief advisor to the Turkish premier offered to mediate between split Palestinian factions to forge a consensus necessary to a lasting cease-fire in Gaza.

Turkey's top advisor says Palestinian unity must be restored

Chief advisor to the Turkish premier offered Monday to mediate between split Palestinian factions to forge a consensus necessary to a lasting cease-fire in Gaza.

Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters that reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah movement would be the basis for a lasting solution to the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

"Palestinian reconciliation is a must in order for peace to be lasting," Davutoglu said. "If that is achieved, then the road to peace will be opened."

"In order for the cease-fire to last we must ensure that Israel withdraws its troops. As long as they remain inside, there can be provocations at any minute," Davutoglu said.

"Until we achieve reconciliation between Palestinians we need some temporary arrangements," he said.

He said Turkey was instrumental in getting Hamas to declare a cease-fire on Sunday.

"If there was a two-sided cease-fire, it was because of Turkey," he said.

Davutoglu also said he did not accept that Turkey had weighed in for Hamas in its policy over the conflict in Gaza.

"It is completely wrong to argue that Turkey favored Hamas in its policy. Turkey's policy does not exclude any factor and it considers Hamas as one of the factors," Ahmet Davutoglu told a press briefing in Istanbul.

Davutoglu said Turkey tried to formulate "an all inclusive outlook" toward the Middle East, adding that Turkey had never pursued a policy that sought to take side with a country and to confront another one.

"Turkey stands at equal distance to all countries of the region and we are trying to become the pioneer for platforms which would embrace the entire region," he said.

Davutoglu acknowledged that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had made remarks that criticized the Israel however said that the criticisms had not been directed to the Israeli people.

Premier's aide also said the Israeli offensive into Gaza "had not come as a surprise to Turkey."

"And that is why we visited every major capital in Europe toward the end of 2008 to make a warning that critical times were ahead of us," Davutoglu said, adding that Turkey had made a series of urgent diplomatic efforts right after Israeli attacks began on December 27.

"Premier Erdogan embarked upon a regional tour just one day after and visited Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia," Davutoglu said.

Davutoglu said Turkey had offered a viable plan to the sides of the conflict over the transition period for a solution of the problem, adding that the proposal had be received positively in general.

"There are three critical points in this issue: Withdrawal of the Israeli troops, opening of the borders for humanitarian aid and moves to lift the embargo on Gaza," he said.


Agencies

Last Mod: 19 Ocak 2009, 17:14
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