Arafat Briefs Cairo on Stumbling Blocks in Negotiations with Israel
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat briefed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the continuing stumbling blocks in negotiations with Israel, Foreign Minister Amr Mussa said Wednesday.
"The situation now calls for a halt and a re-think," Mussa said, referring to last week's negotiations in the Israeli resort of Eilat, after Mubarak and Arafat met Wednesday morning.
Mussa believed there would be no forward movement over the coming days, stressing that Israel has already fixed three target dates that it has failed to respect.
"The lack of progress, on all tracks, is a source of worry over the entire peace process," the minister said, adding that Cairo plans to intensify contacts with both the Palestinian and Israeli delegations, as well as with the United States, which is sponsoring the peace process.
The Palestinian president arrived in Cairo Tuesday evening, after a summit meeting in the West Bank town of Ramallah with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, followed by talks with US envoy Dennis Ross.
The Israelis and Palestinians are supposed to come up with an agreement by May 13, defining the broad lines of a permanent agreement planned for September 13 at the latest.
Despite the involvement of the US envoy, it has been accepted that the May 13 deadline cannot be met because of substantial differences, particularly over the status of Jerusalem, the fate of Palestinian refugees, and the borders of a future Palestinian state.
Initially, the framework agreement had a deadline of February 13, but the date was pushed back by three months at Barak's request -- CAIRO (AFP).
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)