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Palestinian FM rejects disarming militants before ending occupation

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GAZA, Jun 14, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser Al-Qedwa reiterated on Tuesday that the Palestinian militant groups won't be disarmed before ending the Israeli military occupation.

Al-Qedwa said in a statement sent to reporters that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) will not disarm the Palestinian militants until Israel ends its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The roadmap peace plan backed by the United States calls for ending the Israeli occupation, said al-Qedwa, adding according to the international law, as long as the Palestinian territories are occupied, the Palestinians have the right to resist.

Earlier, he said in a debate panel aired on Palestinian television that resisting the occupation is legal and keeping arms in the hands of militants is justified since Israel is still occupying the Palestinian territories.

His statements have angered the Israeli officials who have threatened to cancel a scheduled meeting on June 21 between Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Facing the Israeli pressures, PNA national security advisor Jibril Rajoub stressed that all images people holding guns in the streets as well as the armed phenomena in the Palestinian territories must be ended as soon as possible.