UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The United States urged the Security Council on Friday to call on Israel and the Palestinians to start implementing the new "road map" to peace.
Syria, a council member, said it hadn't received the plan and needed more time.
To build momentum for implementation, U.S. officials sought swift adoption of a U.S.-drafted statement backing the plan and calling on Israel and the Palestinians "to work together to end terrorism and to achieve peace."
But Syria's U.N. Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe, whose country is the only Arab nation on the 15-member council, said he needed instructions from Damascus, which has not yet officially received the road map.
U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte, who presented the statement to the council, said members decided that experts from council nations would meet on Monday to discuss it.
The parties that devised the road map - the United States, European Union, Russia and the United Nations - delivered the plan Wednesday to Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
It aims to achieve Palestinian statehood within three years. The Palestinians have accepted the plan, while Israel has expressed major reservations, including a demand that the Palestinian Authority crack down on militants.
The U.S.-drafted statement would have the Security Council welcome the presentation of "a road map to achieve the vision of two democratic states - Israel and Palestine - living side by side in peace and security."
The United States also wants the council to call on "the new Palestinian cabinet, the government of Israel, and all states in the region to work together to end terrorism and to achieve peace." The draft reiterates the need "to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East."
The statement, if agreed to by the council, would be read in the chamber by the current council president, Pakistan's U.N. Ambassador Munir Akram.
The road map starts with a Palestinian crackdown on terror groups and an Israeli freeze on Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, combined with a gradual Israeli pullout from the autonomous Palestinian zones its troops have reoccupied in the past 31 months.
In the second phase, which could come as early as this year, a Palestinian state would be established in provisional borders. In stage three, talks on a final peace deal would be held.
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