Gulf Council Demands
'Total' Palestinian
Sovereignty Over
East Jerusalem
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) - The Gulf Cooperation CouncilFriday called for "total" Palestinian sovereignty over east Jerusalem.
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, speaking on behalf of the group his country currently leads, also denounced what he said was Israeli "intransigence" in peace talks with the Palestinians.
The GCC groups Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Its foreign ministers have gathered in Jeddah for two days of talks expected to put the Middle East peace process at the top of the agenda.
The fate of the holy city of Jerusalem is at the centre of the latest impasse in the peace process, as well as Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's on-again, off-again plans to declare an independent state next month.
In his remarks at the beginning of the meeting, Faisal said Israel's position during the failed Camp David summit in July was contrary to the principles for negotiations set out at a meeting in Madrid in 1991.
He said it was also contrary to international resolutions on east Jerusalem, which is holy to Christians, Jews and Muslims.
Israel captured east Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It later annexed that territory, declaring it to be part of an eternal and unified capital.
That is rejected by the Palestinians, who want east Jerusalem as capital of a future state, and by the international community.
A United Nations Security Council resolution passed in 1967 calls for Israel to withdraw from all territories captured during the war, which includes east Jerusalem.
A "just and durable peace cannot be established without a just resolution" of the Jerusalem question, Faisal said.
Concretely, that would guarantee "the rights of Arabs and Muslims" and respect "Palestinian sovereignty over Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock" Islamic holy sites."
Turning to Israel's negotiating posture, Faisal said "each time we think there is a breakthrough in the peace process, we find ourselves up against Israeli intransigence."
He said "Israel commits a grave error in thinking that the peace process can advance" if the right of Palestinian refugees to return home and to an independent state on "national territory" are ommitted.
"And Israel commits an even greater error if it believes that the Arab and Muslim world will keep silent in the face of unilateral measures in the holy city" of Jerusalem.
He said the pursuit of this policy could "sabotage the peace process and open the way to a new outbreak of violence and of tension throughout the region."
The GCC meeting comes only three days after the Al-Quds (Jerusalem) committee of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, meeting in Morocco, issued a statement reject any limitation on Palestinian sovereignty over east Jerusalem.

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