U.N. delays arrival of Jenin team until Sunday
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The United Nations agreed Friday to postpone until Sunday the arrival of a fact-finding team to investigate whether atrocities occurred during the bloody Israeli-Palestinian combat in the Jenin refugee camp.
The team, currently in Geneva, had been expected to arrive Saturday.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made the request, citing discrepancies over the scope of the mission.
"In order to clarify matters, Israel is seeking to delay the arrival of the committee until the discussions have been concluded and the problematic points have been clarified," said a statement from Sharon's office.
Israel wants the fact-finding mission to examine the terrorist infrastructure it says thrives at the Jenin camp.
At the United Nations in New York, a meeting over the status of that mission resumed shortly after noon -- three hours behind schedule after Israel asked for a delay -- but participants broke for lunch a short time later.
The Israeli delegation met with U.N. officials for more two hours Thursday night, and U.N. officials agreed to an Israeli request that two military officers be added to the fact-finding team.
The overall makeup of the team is still in discussion and Israel also is seeking clarification on the precise mission of the group.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Friday said talks have been "very, very constructive and I'm sure we'll be able to sort out our differences."
Palestinian officials claim hundreds died in what they are calling a massacre at the Jenin refugee camp during Israel's military offensive. Israel vehemently denies the charge, saying about 50 Palestinians, mostly fighters, were killed. Israel lost 23 soldiers in the fighting.
"The IDF refrained from harming innocents, while courageously fighting to defend the security of Israeli citizens," Sharon said in his statement.
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