Arafat: New Middle East Summit could Take Place after August 17
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat said Monday that a new Israeli-Palestinian peace summit could take place when the Democratic National Convention in the United States ends on August 17th.
"US President Bill Clinton said a new summit could take place after the Democratic convention," Arafat told the official WAM news agency on his arrival in the United Arab Emirates.
The Democratic Party gathering runs from August 14th-17th in Los Angeles.
Arafat, on a tour of Arab and other countries to explain the Palestinian position in the wake of the failure of the Camp David summit, played down statements by Clinton that Washington may move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
"We must keep in mind that the United States is currently locked in an electoral battle," Arafat said, referring to the size and importance of the Jewish voting bloc in the United States.
He praised the support given by Arab countries to the Palestinian negotiators and the position of the international community over eastern Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as the capital of their future state.
"We can never forget this Arab, Christian and international position," he said.
Arafat told Libyan Leader Moamer Kadhafi Sunday that "the Palestinians were not ready to make concessions" on a number of issues, including "Jerusalem, which is of interest not only to Palestinians but to Arabs and Muslims. "Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak told a meeting of his cabinet Sunday, meanwhile, that it was "too soon to speak of a (new) summit. It's not clear yet if the Palestinians are ready for a breakthrough."
Top Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qorei said there would not be a second summit to follow up on the failed Camp David talks unless Israel showed "serious flexibility" and unless the US made it clear it would support UN resolutions on the conflict.
But Israel's Haaretz newspaper said Clinton had recently told Barak of his "willingness to sponsor a second summit with a clearly-defined timeframe provided that the parties submit, ahead of time, a clear outline of principles that would lead to an agreement.” – DUBAI (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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