Reports: Israel's Acting FM Made Secret Trip Abroad
Israel's Acting Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben Ami made a secret trip abroad this weekend, possibly to an Arab country, to try to break the deadlock in Middle East peace negotiations, Israeli radio stations reported Monday.
A foreign ministry spokesman questioned by AFP refused to confirm or deny the report and declined to say where the minister was Monday morning.
Israeli military radio said Ben Ami, Israel's top negotiator with the Palestinians, could have traveled to an Arab country on Sunday, but did not say which one.
The foreign minister last week made a European tour to further explain Israel's position in the peace talks with the Palestinians, meeting with officials in France, Italy, Britain, Germany and the Netherlands.
Both Israel and the Palestinians have embarked on intensive diplomatic campaigning to muster support following the collapse of the US-sponsored Camp David peace summit last month, primarily over the key stumbling block of Jerusalem's future.
Israel and the Palestinians face a September 13th deadline for a peace accord on the most contentious issues in their longstanding conflict, including Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, Jewish settlements, final borders and water and security issues.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, anxious to cut a deal with the Palestinians that could save him from early elections, headed to New York Sunday for the UN millennium summit and talks with Clinton in their first encounter since the failure of the Camp David summit almost six weeks ago.
But he said before leaving that there are no plans as yet for either another three-way summit in New York or a meeting with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, who is also due to meet Clinton on Wednesday - OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP)
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