|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Barak, Arafat holding third day of talks
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (CNN) -- Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak are in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh Thursday for their third consecutive day of talks.
They are expected to brief Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on their agreement to resume peace negotiations in Washington later this month.
U.S. Middle East Envoy Dennis Ross said the formal talks would resume after the four-day Muslim "Feast of Sacrifice," Eid Al-Adha, which begins March 16. He said both sides wanted to push forward as soon as possible.
"The parties made good progress in addressing and resolving many of the interim issues and agreed to intensify their negotiations," Ross said. "Towards this end, they agreed that negotiations would resume after the Eid in Washington."
The summit followed a surprise late-night session in Tel Aviv between Arafat and Barak on Tuesday. That meeting took place after Arafat, speaking to his Parliament, promised to declare an independent Palestinian state in 2000 whether or not he had secured a peace treaty with Israel.
Ross said the goal is to reach a blueprint for a peace treaty "as soon as possible," adding that September 13 remained the deadline for a final accord. That accord, he said, will include the status of Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as their capital.
He called Wednesday's meeting "an important step in reaffirming the Israeli and Palestinian commitment to work in a spirit of partnership and mutual confidence to end the conflict between them."
May deadline for peace framework
Israel's announcement Sunday that it would remove its troops from south Lebanon with or without a peace agreement with Syria also likely provided an impetus to restart the Palestinian talks.
Palestinian officials said both sides had accepted a U.S.-Egyptian proposal for a new agenda for the talks, including these terms:
Within weeks, Israel will transfer 6.1 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians. That transfer had been stalled over which land would be transferred.
A new deadline of May would be set to replace a missed February deadline for completion of a framework for a peace agreement.
In June, Israel will carry out another land handover.
All sides spoke of a good atmosphere surrounding the summits.
Peace talks broke down last month over issues surrounding Israel's handover of West Bank land to Palestinian control.
Barak, Arafat meet in effort to jump-start peace talks
Haaretz Daily Newspaper
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.