Israeli Spokesman: ‘Barak has not Decided to Leave Camp David’
Talks with the Palestinians are continuing at Camp David and a press report that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has decided to leave for home Wednesday is untrue, an Israeli spokesman said Tuesday.
"Negotiations are going on at Camp David even during night and for the moment the prime minister has not taken any decision to return to Israel," Barak spokesman Gadi Baltiansky told Israel army radio.
He was reacting to a front page headline in the Yediot Aharonot daily announcing that Barak would return home Wednesday without an agreement.
"I cannot confirm this headline, and I don't know if it will be backed up in the future," said Baltiansky.
Yediot reported that US President Bill Clinton had told Barak and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat that he would leave for Japan on Wednesday morning and that there would be a break in the negotiations.
Clinton took the decision after concluding that there had been no breakthrough, the paper said.
"Mr. Barak decided to go back tomorrow (Wednesday)" to Israel, it added.
Barak aide Eldad Yaniv, who is with part of the Israeli delegation at a location close to Camp David, told Israel public radio that "everything that has been published so far is simply speculation."
"The only certainty is that the prime minister will not budge on the 'red lines' (the points he has said are non-negotiable) which he has set himself, and there is still no guarantee that an accord will be reached," he said.
The "red lines" cover the status of east Jerusalem, the return of Palestinian refugees, Jewish settlements, borders, and the Jordan valley.
Israel army radio said the United States might present a compromise document Tuesday dealing with the borders of the future Palestinian state.
The document would reportedly call for an Israeli withdrawal to the borders in force in 1967 when Israel occupied the Palestinian territories, but would grant Israel the right to annex sectors containing blocs of settlements.
The radio quoted Barak associates as saying he would leave the summit if the US document included recognition of Palestinian sovereignty over any part of east Jerusalem, occupied and annexed by Israel in 1967 -- OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP)
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