Carter Willing to Mediate Mideast Talks
By Karl Ritter
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, December 12, 2002
UPPSALA, Sweden –– Former President Jimmy Carter said Thursday he was willing to mediate peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, but only if they and the U.S. government asked him to.
"We would go immediately and with great alacrity," the Nobel Peace Prize laureate said during a speech to students at the University of Uppsala.
However, Carter gave no indication he had been asked to mediate.
Carter helped broker the 1978 Camp David accords that led to peace between Israel and Egypt. The agreement resulted in the Nobel Peace Prize for Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. Carter was not nominated then, but won the Peace Prize this year.
Carter said escalating tension between Israelis and Palestinians hasn't been stemmed and asserted that President Bush was not impartial about the issue.
"Until President Bush, every president, Democratic or Republican, has in my opinion played a balancing role as a trusted mediator," he said. "Now, though, it seems obvious that the present administration in Washington is completely compatible with the Israeli government and they have completely ignored ... the Palestinian Authority."
Carter, a Democrat, praised the Republican administration for backing away from earlier threats of unilateral action against Iraq.