A three-way summit between Israeli, Palestinian and US leaders to forge a framework peace deal will be held next month at Camp David in the United States, an Israeli newspaper reported Tuesday.
The summit would take place on July 6th and last about 10 days, the top-selling Yediot Aharonot reported, citing sources close to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
The US presidential retreat at Camp David was the site of peace talks between Israel and Egypt in 1978, which led to the signing of a landmark treaty the following year, the first between an Arab nation and the Jewish state.
"The purpose of the Camp David summit is to conclude the framework agreement on the final status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians and to declare that the dispute between the two sides is over," the paper said.
Barak's chief of staff Danny Yatom said Monday that Israel wanted a "working summit" with Barak, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and US President Bill Clinton in the next few weeks to wrap up a framework deal ahead of a September 13 deadline for a final comprehensive pact.
Israeli Public Security Minister Shlomo Ben Ami, who is leading the negotiations with the Palestinians, which broke off in Washington on Saturday with no signs of tangible progress, declined to confirm or deny the report.
"I prefer not to react, but it is true that the Americans are making efforts to organize a summit," Ben Ami said.
"We hope this summit will take place and we believe it's possible to create the necessary conditions during the next two weeks."
US Middle East envoy Dennis Ross is due back in the region on Wednesday or Thursday to prepare for a visit by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright early next week, he said.
The Yediot also reported that the Palestinians have agreed to a two-week delay in the implementation of a promised third Israeli withdrawal from the occupied West Bank expected to take place on June 23rd.
Currently the Palestinians have full or partial control over around 40 percent of the territory but Barak is reportedly prepared to hand over more than 90 percent in a final peace deal, angering thousands of Jewish settlers who live there -- OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP)
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