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Powell: 'Road Map' Not Dead - 2003-12-03


U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says the internationally-backed "road-map" for Middle East peace is not dead, but he is also meeting the architects of a separate, unofficial peace plan.

Speaking in Morocco Wednesday, Mr. Powell said he will meet, possibly on Friday, with the former Israeli and Palestinian officials behind what is known as the Geneva Accord -- despite Israeli government objections.

The secretary says the United States still believes in the U.S.-backed "road map," which calls for Palestinians to halt terrorist attacks and Israelis to stop settlement activity as first steps toward peace and a Palestinian state.

Each side accuses the other of violating the road map, and official peace efforts have been stalled for months.

The Middle East peace process is just one topic of conversation on Mr. Powell's trip to Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

While in Morocco, Secretary Powell discussed regional and human rights issues with King Mohammed. Mr. Powell then headed to Algeria, where he praised President Abdelaziz Bouteflika for his cooperation in the war on terrorism.

Mr. Powell also urged Algeria ensure next year's presidential elections are free and fair.

He travels to Brussels for a NATO foreign ministers meeting on Thursday.

Information for this report is provided by AFP and Reuters.

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