WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Colin Powell affirmed his support for a Palestinian state on land held by Israel on Friday in a series of television interviews.
Powell also said he wanted to meet with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Both men are in New York attending the special session of the U.N. General Assembly.
The secretary's comments come one day after Bush — who will also attend the session — declined to meet with Arafat this week, with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice attributing the decision to Arafat not taking the U.S. war on terrorism seriously.
"You cannot help us with Al Qaeda and hug Hezbollah — that's not acceptable — or Hamas. The president continues to make that clear to Mr. Arafat and there are no plans to meet with Mr. Arafat in New York," Rice said.
Arafat has expressed support for the anti-terror campaign.
On Friday, Powell said he wanted to give peacemaking "a jump-start" by meeting with Arafat. Powell already has plans to meet with Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa.
Israel should give up land for peace as provided by U.N. resolutions adopted after the 1967 and 1973 mideast wars, Powell said.
The Palestinian mission to the U.N. said that a meeting with Powell has not been scheduled.
Powell also said Israel should re-open its borders to Palestinian workers in an attempt to move the peace process forward.
"I have seen some progress in recent days and I hope over the weekend to improve upon that progress and keep it moving," Powell told CNN.
In Jerusalem, Peres suggested Friday that declaration of a Palestinian state could launch the reopening of peace talks. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was unlikely to approve of the idea, although he has said Palestinian statehood was inevitable.
The dovish Peres and the tough-minded Sharon have differing views of a Palestinian state. Peres, for instance, would give the Palestinians control over part of Jerusalem.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.