From the Departement of Communications, United States Catholic Conference,

by David Early.March 21.1997

Amid renewed violence, Archbishop urges United States to revive Middle East Peace Process

WASHINGTON: Recent actions raise questions about the role of the United States as an honest broker in the Middle East peace process, according to one U.S Archbishop, who today urged clear Amencan leadership in reviving the negotiations.

In a letter to US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Archbishop Theodore E McCarrick of Newark (NJ) today urged that "everything must be done to advance the peace process and nothing to undermine it”

As chairrnam of the U.S. Catholic Conference’s inernatational Policy Committee, Archbishop McCarrick expressed “deep concerns over recent developments in the Middle East and the grave threat they pose to the very fragile and vulnerable peace process.

He called particular attention to the question of Jerusalem's status and noted that the position of the USCC mirriors that of the Holy See:

1) an equitable solution based on negotiation, in which 2) the parties acknowledge the universal religious significance of Jerusalem, 3) guarantees for the rights of the three religious communitites in the Holy City on the same level, and 4) further assures those rights with wider international agreement

He said the decision by Israel to build settlements at Jebel Abu Ghneim/Har Homa was “particularly disturbing to us because of its effects on Christian population” in three nearby towns. Archbishop McCrrick said Construction would effectively cut off those three towns and damage their future economic viability.