Palestinian FM: No plan to dismantle armed groups

Sunday, June 12, 2005 | 
Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser Al-Kidwa has set off a storm by declaring that his government has no intention of cracking down on terrorist groups, as demanded by the “roadmap” peace plan. "The dismantling of armed organizations is not on the table because weapons are legal as long as the occupation exists," Al Kidwa told Palestinian Television. "Possession of weapons is a strategic issue as long as there is occupation." It was the first time a senior Palestinian official openly acknowledged that the government would not fulfill its key commitment under the roadmap. Until now, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said he prefers to negotiate with militant groups, with the long-term goal of collecting illegal weapons.

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