Israeli, Palestinian Security Officials to Meet either Wednesday or Thursday
Israeli and Palestinian security chiefs are expected to meet either Wednesday or Thursday under a deal brokered by US Secretary of State Colin Powell, reported Haaretz newspaper, citing Israel Radio.
The report said that Powell spoke by telephone with both Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat following Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip Tuesday night in retaliation for a mortar attack on a Jewish settlement that seriously wounded a baby boy.
The radio said the meeting would only discuss ways of ending the violence that has engulfed the region for more than six months.
A spokesman for Sharon's office could not immediately confirm the report, said Haaretz.
The radio said Tuesday that the meeting could take place at the Erez crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip in the presence of an observer from the US Central Intelligence Agency.
On Tuesday, Palestinian preventative security chief for the Gaza Strip Mohammed Dahlan said that there would be no resumption of security contacts without foreign observers.
"Security contacts are cut off and they will only resume within a political framework on condition that there is an international witness to the meetings," he told a press conference. "Without this witness there will be no meetings."
Israel is refusing to give a political dimension to security contacts with the Palestinians and has put the onus on the Palestinians to end the violence before sitting down at the negotiating table – Albawaba.com
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