Israel, Palestinians launch new round of peace talks
January 30, 2000
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israeli and Palestinian negotiators launched 10 days of intensive talks on Sunday aimed at forging the draft of a U.S.-brokered permanent peace treaty, senior Israeli diplomatic sources said.
They said the negotiating teams met at an undisclosed location between Jerusalem and the West Bank town of Ramallah.
The talks are expected to pick up pace after the Wednesday arrival in the region of U.S. President Bill Clinton's Middle East envoy Dennis Ross, and a Friday summit between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.
The sides have pledged to seal the framework accord by February 13. A permanent peace deal, covering such core issues as the fate of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, and Jewish settlers, is to be sealed seven months later.
The United States, the main Middle East peace broker, said on Thursday it doubted Israel and the Palestinians could meet the February 13 deadline for the so-called framework accord.
Senior Palestinian negotiator Yasser Abed Rabbo said on Saturday the February target could be postponed if the Israelis showed seriousness during the 10-day negotiating round.
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