Clinton, Barak Discuss Middle East Peace Prospects

Published July 2nd, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

US President Bill Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak discussed Middle East peace prospects in a telephone call on Saturday but no decision was made about a possible three-way summit with the Palestinians, reported Reuters, quoting a White House official.  

The official said the call lasted 45 minutes and also covered the case of 10 Iranian Jews who were sentenced to prison terms of four to 10 years by an Iranian Revolutionary Court on charges of spying for Israel, said the agency.  

The official described the call as a "serious conversation" on the issues involved in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations toward a peace settlement.  

"Regarding the peace process, no decisions have been made," the official said, who added that it could not be ruled out that Clinton would also talk to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, Reuters added.  

Barak's office said in a statement released in Jerusalem that Barak and Clinton would speak again in coming days.  

The Israelis and Palestinians have set September as the deadline for a peace agreement for resolving the most difficult differences between them, including final borders, the status of Jerusalem and the return of Palestinian refugees, said the agency. 

Meanwhile, Israel's opposition Likud leader, Ariel Sharon, called on Barak to ensure that any agreement with the Palestinians will maintain the unity of Jerusalem and Israeli security, reported the Jerusalem Post.  

"Everyone in Israel is committed to peace, but it must be a peace that will give security for generations, and not just until the elections," Sharon wrote in a letter to the premier, according to a statement released by his office.  

The Likud leader demanded that an accord include recognition of Jerusalem as "the united and undivided capital of the State of Israel," and that it should be agreed upon before the signing of a peace pact, and not afterwards, said the paper - (Several Sources) 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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