Israel and the United States believe that, despite wide gaps in negotiating positions, a comprehensive accord can be struck within a week to end the Palestinian conflict, senior Israeli negotiators told AFP Monday.
"In a meeting we held with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright last night, she made it clear that the United States believes it is possible to conclude a deal with the Palestinians before the G-8 summit," chief Israeli negotiator Shlomo Ben Ami told AFP.
US President Bill Clinton is scheduled to leave for the G-8 summit in Tokyo next Wednesday. The historic summit at Camp David aimed at hammering out a final deal with the Palestinians is scheduled to commence Tuesday.
Another senior Israeli negotiator speaking on condition of anonymity concurred with Albright's assessment, adding that the gaps are "certainly bridgeable."
"I wouldn't rule out an agreement within a week, I think it could happen," the negotiator said.
Clinton is planning to help Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat reach a comprehensive agreement.
The outstanding issues in the conflict are the questions of borders, Jerusalem, refugees, and Jewish settlements in the West bank and Gaza Strip - WASHINGTON (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )