Israel warned on Saturday that it would retaliate with "unilateral steps" of its own if the Palestinians failed to postpone a declaration of statehood originally set for September 13th.
The warning came from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in an interview with CNN television as the Palestinian Central Council held a meeting attended by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Gaza City to debate the issue.
Barak told CNN that there had been international pressure for a delay, adding: "It's clear that if he (Arafat) breaks all the agreements and goes for a unilateral declaration of independence, then there will be unilateral steps of our own."
Barak also reiterated earlier calls on Arafat to compromise in order to reach a peace agreement.
He said another summit bringing together the United States, Israel and the Palestinians was unlikely unless Arafat showed flexibility.
"There's always a chance (of a summit), but we're realistic," Barak said. "There is a need for major effort, especially on behalf of Chairman Arafat, in order to give it the kind of momentum that will make it an accomplishment within a few weeks." – NEW YORK (AFP)
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