sharon dismisses peace as unimportant

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    JERUSALEM, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel
    Sharon has dismissed as unimportant a quartet of international
    peace envoys from the United States, Russia, the European Union
    and the United Nations.
    Asked by the U.S. magazine Newsweek what he thought of the
    quartet's Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, Sharon said: "Oh, the
    quartet is nothing! Don't take it seriously! There is (another)
    plan that will work."
    There was no immediate comment from any of the four quartet
    members, including Washington, Israel's closest ally.
    In the interview, published on Sunday, Sharon reiterated his
    peace blueprint allowing for a Palestinian state with temporary
    borders if "terrorism" stops and turning President Yasser Arafat
    into a figurehead as part of Palestinian Authority reforms.
    The Israeli leader, whose rightist Likud party is ahead in
    opinion polls ahead of a general election nine days away, said
    that once there was a complete halt to violence he would be
    ready to negotiate the final borders of a Palestinian state.
    Palestinians have rejected Sharon's peace vision as a sham
    intended to sabotage efforts to broker a peace deal to establish
    a viable Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip,
    lands captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.
    The "quartet" of peace envoys has drafted a series of
    "roadmaps" towards ending more than two years of violence since
    a Palestinian uprising for statehood began in September 2000
    shortly after peace treaty negotiations deadlocked.
    The United States, trying to muster a coalition against
    Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, has decided to delay releasing
    the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan until after Israel's general
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