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Press Information February 14, 2001

Cem: Turkey condemns all kinds of violence to prevent the death of children in this region, which is a historically sensitive area
ARAFAT: THE INCIDENT OF THIS MORNING SEEMS LIKE A ROAD ACCIDENT.

ANKARA (A.A) -14.02.2001 - Mr. İsmail Cem, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, has declared that Turkey will continue to support the Middle East Peace Process.

Mr. Cem organised a joint press conference with the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, who was on a one-day working trip to Ankara. Mr Cem said, "Turkey condemns all kinds violence in order to avoid children dying in an area in which Turkey has great concern because of its history."

Mr. Arafat commented that the event which happened in Israel today "seems like a road accident" and said, "the driver has also been captured".

Today a bus driver named Halil Ebu Alba deliberately drove his bus into a bus stop near Tel Aviv, killing 8 people and injuring 21.

MR. CEM: "WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE RESUMPTION OF NEGOTIATIONS WHICH MUST NOT FALL BEHIND THE AGREEMENT, ALREADY REACHED WHICH WILL PROMOTE PEACE"

MR. ARAFAT: "ISRAEL USED NERVE GAS AGAINST CIVILIANS YESTERDAY"

ANKARA (A.A) - 14.02.2001- Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Ismail Cem
has said Turkey wants "to see the resumption of negotiations which must not fall behind the agreement already reached and which will promote peace"

Mr. Cem organised a joint press conference with the Palestinian President Mr. Yasser Arafat, who was on a one-day working trip to Ankara and said that Mr. Arafat conveyed his thoughts about the recent developments, and added, "we would like to evaluate the situation together and we are doing that evaluation now". Stressing that Turkey is closely following the peace process Mr. Cem said:

"Turkey which has historical links to this geographical area do not want to see people and children dying, and we struggle for this aim. Turkey condemns all kinds of violence. We are working to stop violence. Turkey would like to see the start of negotiations which do not fall behind the already reached line and which will take the peace forward."

Mr. Cem said, "Turkey supports all the efforts of the Palestinian people and Mr. Arafat for peace, and will continue to do its best to solve this problem towards a peaceful end.

Mr. Arafat, in thanking for Turkey's support towards the peace efforts, said, "we are passing through a very difficult situation and time. Our people are subject to a very serious military attack."

Mr. Arafat said that Israel used nerve gas against civilians yesterday and added, "we have not experienced a situation like this before. Our doctors are unable to cure the damage caused by nerve gas on our people. This is just a part of this attack."

Mr. Arafat also said that Israel had attacked three villages which are very important for the all worlds' Christians and added, "we are against all kinds of violence and all kinds of terrorism. Regardless of these negative experiences we are committed to a just, comprehensive and lasting peace."

Pointing out that they need the support of Turkey, Arab countries, Russia, Europe and USA for peace, Yasser Arafat stated, "an international and determined effort is required for stopping this military attack of Israel."

ARAFAT: WE DO NOT NEED A SPECIAL REASON TO VISIT TURKEY.

Ankara (A.A)- 14.02.2001- Pointing out that there is a historical link between them and Turkey, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat said that "They do not need any special reason to come to Turkey". President Arafat, who is currently paying a one-day working visit to Ankara, replied to the questions asked by journalists at the joint press conference together with Foreign Minister İsmail Cem.

Responding to a question, noting that they want an international military force similar to the international military presence in Hebron with the participation of Turkey, Mr Arafat said that "this international force can play an essential role to stop military aggression." When asked whether they want Turkey to reconsider its relations with Israel after Mr Ariel Sharon won the election, Mr Arafat replied that " what we expect Turkey is to continue to play its crucial role in encouraging and supporting the peace process."

When a journalist asked the reason behind his sudden visit to Turkey, Mr Arafat replied that "we do not need any special reason to come to Turkey. The historical link between us constitutes the necessary reason to come to Turkey."

In reply to the question about this morning's assault by a Palestinian driver named Khalil Abu Alba, in which he drove a bus into a group of Israelis at a bus stop close to Tel Aviv, killing 8 and injuring 21 people, Mr Arafat said that "First of all, according to the information we received it was an road accident and the person caused the accident has already been taken under custody. I am sure that it is being investigated at the moment. Of course, we are against the killing of people whatever what the reason."