Arafat-Barak Summit Possible in Days
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat could meet before Wednesday's celebration of Israeli independence, public television reported.
The summit would provide an occasion for Barak and Arafat to try to tackle the deep differences that marked the negotiating session which wound up Friday in Eilat, southern Israel, the television added.
Quoting senior Palestinian officials, it suggested a meeting could take place Sunday evening.
The CNN also reported Saturday that Barak and would meet Sunday night to try to break the impasse in the efforts to reach a framework agreement on Israeli-Palestinian peace.
The Eilat talks ended in a mood of crisis and without any progress being reported.
A member of the Palestinian negotiating team, Colonel Mohammed Dahlan, said last Monday a Barak-Arafat summit could take place after the first week of negotiations on a framework agreement.
The two sides are supposed to reach such an agreement by May 13, which would set out the main lines of a final settlement of their conflict.
They are also negotiating the extent of the third Israeli pullout from the West Bank as set out in the Oslo accords.
Given the extent of their differences, it is virtually out of the question that the two parties will meet this timetable.
The framework agreement should include the status of Jerusalem, the fate of the Israeli settlements in occupied territories, the future of the 3.5 million Palestinian refugees, and the borders and legal status of the Palestinian areas.
US ENVOY MEETS ISRAELIS, PALESTINIANS IN BID TO BREAK PEACE IMPASSE
US Middle East troubleshooter Dennis Ross held separate meetings with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators Sunday in a bid to advance troubled peace talks amid speculation of a summit between Barak and Arafat.
"He is having separate meetings with negotiators today," a US embassy official said, adding that a meeting between the two negotiating teams was possible Sunday but had so far not been scheduled.
Ross's shuttle mission follows a meeting in Jerusalem on Saturday night between Ross, Palestinian negotiators Yasser Abed Rabbo and Saeb Erakat and Israel's chief negotiator Oded Eran.
The Palestinians say the latest round of negotiations that began in the Red Sea resort of Eilat a week ago are in crisis and have made no progress towards reaching a framework peace agreement by deadline this month.
Last week, they rejected as unacceptable an Israeli map outlining its vision for the shape of the future Palestinian entity, complaining that it proposed several unconnected areas and kept all major roads and the major Jewish settlements under Israeli control – (Several Sources)
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