|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Mideast talks end without U.S. proposals for peace agreement
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Israeli and Palestinian negotiators ended two days of consultations with U.S. mediators on Thursday and officials said the United States had not offered new ideas for a peace agreement.
"The Americans are listening and discussing and consulting. There are no U.S. proposals.... On the basis of these consultations, they will decide the second step," said Hassan Abdel-Rahman, the Palestinian representative in Washington.
U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said, "We haven't made any decisions with respect to bridging proposals. This depends on whether we think there's going to be a chance to bridge gaps through such proposals."
"So no decisions have been made," he added.
The delegations, led by acting Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami for Israel and Saeb Erekat for the Palestinians, arrived on Tuesday and had talks with U.S. special Middle East envoy Dennis Ross in a hotel near the Pentagon.
Reeker said the Israelis and Palestinians also met each other directly but Abdel-Rahman said their contacts did not amount to formal face-to-face talks.
Ross is exploring ideas to remove the obstacles to a final peace agreement that would cover the future of Jerusalem, Jewish settlements, the borders of a Palestinian state and the fate of Palestinian refugees.
In past talks at this level, the Israelis and Palestinians have explored ideas but rarely have they made decisions to compromise -- a task they leave to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.
Dispute over sovereignty
Clinton tried but failed to mediate a complete deal in July at the Camp David summit between Barak and Arafat.
On Wednesday, asked if a deal was possible before he leaves office in January, Clinton said: "We can do it, but it will require what these difficult things always require, a remarkable convergence of both sides willing to make difficult decisions.... I hope we can do it."
Barak is anxious to secure an agreement before the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, reconvenes in October and poses a new challenge to his position as prime minister.
Abdel-Rahman said the United States might decide it needs to hold more consultations before it presents any proposals.
The U.S. official said, "The Israelis and Palestinians will continue their contacts and we will continue our efforts to facilitate their work and advance the negotiations."
But Ross and other U.S. officials do not have immediate plans to visit the Middle East, he said.
The main obstacle at Camp David was the dispute over who should have sovereignty over the Temple Mount, the part of Jerusalem known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif.
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who did not take part in this week's talks, said on Tuesday many ideas were in the air from a variety of sources.
Arafat, for example, has proposed multinational Islamic sovereignty over the Temple Mount, an idea rejected by Israel. Another proposal would give the U.N. Security Council a role in supervising the site, which is holy to Jews and Muslims.
Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Middle East peace meetings under way in Washington
The Israeli Government's Official Web site, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.