Israeli-Palestinian Negotiators to Meet for First Time since Camp David
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are due to hold their first encounter in Jericho on Sunday since the breakdown last week of the Camp David peace summit.
The meeting between Oded Eran for Israel and Saeb Erakat for the Palestinians is expected to focus on interim issues such as prisoner releases and land transfers rather than the thorny so-called final status issues tackled at Camp David.
"There was no decision to stop dialogue so I don't see anything of major significance in our meeting," Eran told AFP.
The talks, expected to start around noon (0900 GMT) in the West Bank town of Jericho, come amid diplomatic efforts by both Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to enlist international support.
The two sides face a self-imposed September 13 deadline to reach a final agreement on the issues at the heart of their decades-old conflict, including Jerusalem, the borders of a future Palestinian state and the fate of 3.7 million Palestinian refugees.
Palestinians are furious over US warnings against any unilateral declaration of statehood following the collapse of the summit over Jerusalem, the most emotive issue dividing them.
In an interview with Israeli television on Friday, US President Bill Clinton said the Palestinians would be making a "big mistake" if they proclaimed a state as planned in September and said the United States would review its relations with them.
Arafat said Saturday during a visit to Paris that he would consider declaring a state "when the time is right," an apparent shift after repeated vows that the state would be proclaimed in September even without a peace deal with Israel - JERICHO (AFP)
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