|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Arafat, Putin speak with Barak
Leaders discuss ways to end Mideast violence
CNN Correspondent Fionnuala Sweeney contributed to this report.
MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak on Friday to discuss ways to end Middle East violence. Arafat spoke from the Moscow office of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who placed the call.
Putin's press service reported the phone call and said that Putin also spoke with Barak, but gave no details about the conversations.
Arafat was in Moscow for hastily arranged talks with Putin, who has been participating in efforts to bring an end to the violence in the Middle East.
On his arrival in Moscow, Arafat said that he was "sure" a solution can be found to the Middle East crisis.
"This is one of the most important steps we are going to discuss (in Moscow). We are sure to find a solution," he said. "(It is important) not to forget that Russia is a co-sponsor of the peace process and they have a political role."
Almost 300 people, mostly Palestinians, have been killed in the violence, which began on September 28.
No end to violence
While Arafat was in Moscow, violent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians continued in the West Bank.
An Israeli civilian was killed on Friday in an ambush on his car in Nablus, and an official of Arafat's Fatah movement was killed there, too.
Thousands of Palestinians were mourning Ibrahim Bani Odeh, a suspected Islamic militant bomb maker who was killed on Wednesday. Palestinians said that Odeh was assassinated by Israelis, but the Israelis denied the charges.
Odeh's death followed a series of tit-for-tat attacks, including a Palestinian car bombing that wrecked a Hadera city bus and killed two Israelis.
Israeli officials said Israel would not retaliate for the car bombing, but Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh told Israeli Radio, "The last word hasn't been said yet."
Strained relations with Egypt
Meanwhile, Egypt has joined the growing number of Middle East nations, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to criticize Israel.
Arab nations have requested a U.N. Security Council meeting to spotlight the rising death toll and rally support for a 2,000-strong U.N. force of unarmed observers to protect civilians. Israeli rejects such a force, saying it would be a reward for recent Palestinian violence.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak also gave a stern warning on Friday that "terror" could spread unless bloodshed between Israelis and Palestinians ends.
In an interview published by the al-Gomhuria and Egyptian Gazette dailies, Mubarak also said that peace was the only guarantee of regional stability, but that Israel had done nothing to halt the violence and return to the negotiating table.
"Peace is the only guarantee for the region's countries to have stability and to embark on their development plans," Mubarak said. "There can be no stability or development under violence, tension, terror and frozen peace."
Earlier this week, Egypt recalled its ambassador from Israel in protest against what it called Israeli "aggression" against Palestinians. The Egyptian move was not a break in diplomatic relations.
Egypt, which in 1979 became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel, recalled the envoy after Israeli missile strikes on Palestinian targets in Gaza, which were carried out in reprisal for a bomb blast that killed two adults and wounded several settler school children on a school bus Monday.
Barak will send senior adviser Dani Yatom to Egypt on Saturday to confer with Mubarak on Mideast peace, his office told CNN.
Diplomacy surges after latest Mideast violence
Israeli Governments Official Website
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.