Peres resumes contacts with PA officials
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said Friday that he has resumed contacts with Palestinian officials but has no plans now to talk to Yasser Arafat, who accused Israel of trying to derail his attempt to reform the Palestinian leadership.
Peres told Israel Radio that his talks with Palestinians are "just initial probes, and that's why I'm being so careful not to go into detail, because there aren't any details yet."
Israel’s Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, however has ruled out peace negotiations with the Palestinians until all violence stops and has banned talks with Arafat, charging that he is responsible for Palestinian attacks.
For his part, Peres said Sharon had set no limits on his current contacts. "I don't know about any conditions, but I don't plan on talking to (Arafat) at this point, anyway," he said.
Several months ago, Peres and Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia came close to agreement on a Mideast peace plan under which Israel would recognize a Palestinian state before solutions were negotiated on key issues such as borders and Palestinian refugees.
Peres said the concept was similar to the idea of a provisional state for the Palestinians, raised this week by Secretary of State Colin Powell. (Albawaba.com)
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