Barak Reassures Israeli Ministers of his Firmness on Negotiating Stance
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak reassured several of his cabinet ministers by telephone Thursday that he will not give way on any of the key negotiating points in his peace talks with the Palestinians, Israeli public radio reported.
The radio said Barak made telephone calls from the US presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland to Communications Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer, Culture Minister Matan Vilnai and Haim Ramon, a minister without portfolio in the prime minister's office.
The calls, also made to former ministers and party leaders Yossi Sarid and Eli Yishai, were to assure all of them that Barak had "no intention of responding to the unreasonable demands of the Palestinians."
The report said Barak added that the reasons motivating his decision Wednesday to pull out of the Camp David talks were "still valid," and that he had ultimately decided to stay on because of "the enormous efforts of (US) President Bill Clinton, who has asked him to wait until Sunday."
Clinton, who left Thursday for a summit of the Group of Eight (the world's seven largest industrial nations plus Russia) in Japan, announced overnight that Barak and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat had agreed to stay on at Camp David, continuing their talks under the coordination with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright - OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP)
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