CIA Director Tenet meets with Arafat
The meeting came after a U.S. source said Tenet is preparing to leave the region Tuesday night after five days of trying to get Israelis and Palestinians to agree on a blueprint for implementing a formal cease-fire.
Tenet's decision to depart increases pressure on the Palestinian Authority to decide whether it can accept Tenet's proposal.
Earlier Tuesday, Israel said it had accepted the plan in principle.
The proposal lays out how each side would implement a formal cease-fire in Israeli-Palestinian fighting that has lasted eight months.
Israel said it would formally agree to the U.S.-brokered plan only if the Palestinians agree to it as well.
But a meeting later Tuesday between Tenet and Palestinian officials yielded no response to the plan. The Palestinian officials said they would meet Tuesday with Palestinian Authority President Arafat and said that meeting could result in a response.
Tenet has requested that both sides respond to the proposal on Tuesday.
U.S. officials said talks with both sides are continuing and that even if he leaves without an agreement, Tenet will not consider his trip a failure.
U.S. officials who have spoken to Tenet say "he thinks there remains an opportunity for progress" on security cooperation, and that U.S. efforts to foster it will continue. But the CIA director believes "he's done what he can do," U.S. officials said.
At a three-way meeting Monday night, Tenet asked the Israelis and Palestinians to respond to a blueprint he offered for a formal cease-fire. He planned to continue mediation efforts here with both sides Tuesday, U.S. officials told CNN.
A Palestinian official who was involved in the talks Monday said the Palestinians would agree to any blueprint consistent with the Mitchell committee report.
The Mitchell committee, an international, independent panel headed by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, was formed to investigate the Israeli-Palestinian fighting and propose a solution.
The Palestinian official added that the current blueprint is not consistent with the Mitchell report, which calls for an immediate cessation of violence, confidence-building measures by both sides and then a return to peace talks.(More on Mitchell report)
For example, he said, the U.S. proposal contains a series of measures to be taken by both sides over a period of several weeks. The Palestinians want the recommendations to be instituted over a shorter time, the Palestinian official said.
Specifically, the Palestinians have said they want to make sure that a freeze on settlement activity in Palestinian territories is implemented during the early stages of any cease-fire. They also want to see an end to Israel's closure of Palestinian territories.
The Israelis, after a meeting Tuesday morning of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his top military and security chiefs, said they would agree to the Tenet blueprint with some reservations.
"Israel has accepted the blueprint of Mr. Tenet, and we think it's again in the hands of Mr. Arafat," said Dan Meridor, chairman of Israel's Foreign Affairs and Defense Commission. "The ball [is] in his court."
After the trilateral meeting Monday night in Jerusalem, the Palestinian source said, the Palestinians were willing to hear what measures Israel was ready to take in order to implement the cease-fire.
"They were not even willing to end the closure of Palestinian territories, which means that even our security forces cannot go from one place to another to arrest or to enforce the cease-fire," the source said.
He added that no political compromises have been offered to the Palestinians, only security measures.
Monday night's meeting was the second such trilateral meeting since Tenet arrived in the region Thursday as a mediator representing the Bush administration.
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