US President Bill Clinton will meet in Washington with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat on April 20, the White House said Saturday.
"President Clinton has invited Prime Minister Barak to meet with him on Tuesday, April 11 and Chairman Arafat to meet with him on Thursday, April 20," said a White House statement issued in New Orleans, Louisiana, where Clinton was traveling.
"Secretary (Madeleine) Albright will also be holding meetings with the two leaders. These separate consultations are part of the United States' continuing efforts to reach Arab-Israeli peace," the statement said.
Clinton and Barak "will discuss efforts to accelerate and intensify the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in order to reach a framework agreement as soon as possible and conclude an agreement on all permanent status issues by September 13, 2000," the statement said.
"The two leaders will also discuss the status of the Syrian track in the aftermath of the president's meeting with President (Hafez) Assad and Israel's decision to withdraw from Lebanon by July 2000."
"This is really in line with our ongoing efforts in the Middle East to promote the peace process," White House spokesman Jim Kennedy told reporters as Clinton's aircraft landed in Alexandria, La. "Everyone is working hard and in good faith to keep the process going forward."
President Clinton met with his Syrian counterpart on March 26 in Geneva in an effort to relaunch failed Israeli-Syrian peace negotiations that broke off January 10.
The statement also said: "President Clinton and Chairman Arafat will review the current Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and discuss how best to achieve their common goal of a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians."
In another development, Arafat arrived in Cairo on Sunday to brief Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak about ongoing peace talks with Israel.
Barak will also stop off and meet Mubarak on his way to Washington for a summit on the peace process, his office told AFP today.
It said Barak would meet Mubarak Monday en route to a meeting set the following day with US President Bill Clinton.
The latest Israeli-Palestinian talks, which started in March in the United States, resumed there Thursday.
The two sides are trying to hammer out a framework peace accord by next month ahead of a September deadline for a permanent settlement.
Arafat is due to meet US President Bill Clinton on April 20 in Washington, the White House said Saturday.
On Friday, Arafat told his ministers at a cabinet meeting in Gaza that the talks in Washington have yielded no progress and are a "waste of time."
Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, told the Associated Press that a single round of talks cannot "be expected to solve all the complex core issues between the Israelis and Palestinians." The new round should be seen as "another link in a process toward reaching a framework agreement" by next month, he said.
In Washington, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators started week-long talks Thursday at an air force base. So far, these talks have not resulted in any concrete results - (Agencies) - Mug Shots AFP Archive.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)