Israel Negotiating for 'Short and Decisive' Middle East Peace Process
Israel is negotiating with the Palestinians "the content of a short and decisive summit" for the Middle East peace process, said Israel's newly-appointed interim foreign minister Shlomo Ben Ami after meeting his Spanish counterpart Josep Piqu Friday.
"Neither of the two parties could allow itself not to reach an agreement," Ben Ami said, calling attention to the limited time left before September 13th, when Palestinians are expected to proclaim their independent state.
Stressing that Jerusalem is "the cornerstone of the conflict," he added that "deadlines should not be imposed if we cannot advance in a dynamic way."
After meeting Nabil Shaath, the Palestinian minister for international cooperation on Friday, Pique announced that "the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to proclaim themselves as a state cannot be submitted to any veto."
Ben Ami, appointed Thursday as a temporary replacement to David Levy, who resigned last week, is scheduled on Saturday to meet Javier Solana, the European Union's high representative for foreign policy.
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat meanwhile reasserted a right to declare a state by the September 13th deadline and also evoked the possibility of a fresh international summit to conclude an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord.
Speaking to reporters in Helsinki following daylong talks in Moscow, Arafat said US President Bill Clinton had wanted to organize another meeting despite the failure of a marathon summit at Camp David last month.
"He mentioned to us, both of us, to me and to Mr. barak before leaving Camp David that he will do his best to have another meeting very soon, maybe at the end of this month," Arafat told reporters -- BARCELONA, Spain (AFP)
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