Elders push Mideast talks

2009-08-25 21:50

Jerusalem - A delegation of international dignitaries and veteran world leaders said on Tuesday they would use their influence to promote Mideast peace and encourage the region's people to believe that it is possible.

The elder statesmen, including Nobel Peace Prize laureates Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, are visiting Israel and the West Bank for four days to meet political leaders, civic groups and young people to listen to those whose lives are affected by the conflict, said the delegation's leader, former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

"We're trying to use our remaining influence to assist in conflict resolution and to address calls of injustice and human suffering," Cardoso said.

Called The Elders, the group's stated mission is to bring together independent international leaders to contribute to resolving conflicts. It was founded by former South African President Nelson Mandela in 2007.

Mandela, 91, an honorary elder, has retired from public life and was not able to travel, group officials said.

Cardoso said the group is supportive of renewed peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders and The Elders' role is to ensure people's concerns and hopes are addressed in the negotiations.

Carter and Tutu have been harsh critics of Israel. Carter has referred to the Israeli treatment of Palestinians as amounting to "apartheid" and has opposed Israeli settlements in the West Bank.


Tutu had a high-profile spat with Israel when he was not allowed into the country as part of a UN fact-finding mission investigating an Israeli shelling attack on the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun in 2006.

This is the group's first visit to the Middle East. Previous peace-building missions by the group have focused on humanitarian issues in Sudan, Zimbabwe and Cyprus.

The delegation is scheduled to meet Israeli President Shimon Peres, 86, himself a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, before travelling to the West Bank city of Ramallah for a meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Wednesday.

The group will not visit Hamas-ruled Gaza because of security concerns but will video conference with Gaza residents, organizers said.

Other members of the delegation are Ela Bhatt, a women's rights activist from India, former Irish President Mary Robinson and former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. The group was joined by tycoon Richard Branson, who originated the idea of forming The Elders group, and former eBay President Jeff Skoll.

- AP

Read more on:    jerusalem  |  mideast peace

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Saturday Constantia - 07:19 AM
    Road name: Rhodes Drive Both Ways
    ROAD CLOSED between Constantia Nek and Canterbury Road until 1300
  • Saturday Constantia - 07:17 AM
    Road name: Rhodes Avenue
    ROAD CLOSED between Canterbury Road and the M3 Highway until 1300
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900

The Blackberry Bold Touch 9900 is as the name says...

From R3565.00

I'm shopping for:


Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.