Barak Accuses Palestinians of Causing Delay in Peace Process
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday accused Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat of delaying the peace process, a day after Israel's confusing stop-start announcements about their talks.
"The situation after Camp David is that we still don't have Arafat's response regarding a willingness to discuss the ideas raised by (US) President (Bill) Clinton, and this is delaying the process," Barak told reporters after a meeting of the parliament’s foreign affairs and defense committee.
"He has been delaying the negotiations in this way for a few weeks, and I believe that in the coming weeks we will know whether Arafat is ready or not to see in President Clinton's proposals ... a basis for discussions," he added.
During the Camp David summit, which collapsed almost two months ago, Clinton raised proposals to bridge the gaps on the future of the thorniest issues of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and final borders.
"If he (Arafat) will see in them a basis for discussion there will be negotiations, if he will not see them as a basis for discussions, I assume that there will not be any negotiation," said Barak.
Barak played down the series of conflicting statements issued by Israel Tuesday over the peace negotiations.
Israel cancelled a meeting between Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat and Israeli negotiator Gilad and announced a "time out" in the talks, but in an embarrassing about-turn, Barak's office later said the two would meet Wednesday.
"Yesterday nothing was changed and today, in my opinion, nothing is changing. There is no significance to the fact that the meeting between Erakat and Sher was cancelled," he said – JERUSALEM (AFP)
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