Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and US President Bill Clinton will meet in Lisbon on Thursday and not in Berlin as originally planned to boost Middle East peace effort, an Israeli official said Wednesday.
Barak will meet Clinton early Thursday morning to enable him to return to Israel in time for a Jerusalem Day ceremony in the evening, the official told AFP.
The two leaders are expected to discuss the prospects for peace with Lebanon and Syria following Israel's pullout from south Lebanon a week ago and ways to advance negotiations with the Palestinians.
Barak said ahead of the meeting that both the Palestinian and Israeli nations need an agreement, which will give answers to everyone's needs.
"We will know within the coming few months if there will be an agreement, both nations need an agreement, there is an opportunity (now) and we will guard Israel's vital interest," Barak told Israeli public radio.
"There will be an agreement only if we will give an answer also to the other side, and we will see in the coming months if there is a real will on the other side to conclude an agreement and put an end to the conflict," he added.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met Wednesday to discuss the interim peace agreements, but no progress was reported.
The teams in charge of the final status issues which include the final borders of the future state of Palestine, Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and Jewish settlements are scheduled to meet in Israel according to Israeli public radio.
Barak had originally been scheduled to meet Clinton in Washington eight days ago, but he cancelled his trip after an upsurge of violence in Israel's former "security zone" in Lebanon and a week of bloody clashes in the Palestinian territories – OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP)
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