Israel and the Palestinian Authority will finalize a framework agreement within one month, sources closely involved in the Stockholm talks believe, according to report by Haaretz Friday.
The Israeli daily reported that two draft agreements are currently being discussed in the negotiations between Shlomo Ben-Ami and Gilad Sher on the Israeli side, and Abu Ala and Hassan Asfour on the Palestinian side, the sources said, adding that the talks have now reached the point of no return.
There are three main possibilities as to what shape the final agreement will take, according to these sources:
l A framework agreement which will declare the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, following which a permanent status agreement will be signed.
2 A framework agreement that will announce a "drawn-out end" to the dispute, and will necessitate further talks over a final agreement.
3 An extended interim agreement which will replace the much anticipated framework agreement - this is seen by many to be the last and least desirable option.
The favored option is the signing of a framework agreement that will declare a permanent end to the dispute, said Haaretz.
An agreement which includes the main points of the final arrangement may then be brought before the Israeli public for its approval in a referendum, while the PA seeks public approval in a way of its own choosing.
Prime Minister Ehud Barak wants to put the framework agreement to referendum, rather than the final status agreement, according to the paper.
If, because of internal political pressures on both sides, it is not possible to sign an agreement announcing the end to the state of conflict, an alternative will be signed which postpones settling all points of contention between Israel and the PA for another time. Such an agreement will also be brought to referendum instead of the permanent status accords.
The daily added that both kinds of agreements will include a clause which states that negotiations over the final agreement will have to be completed within four months of the signing of the framework agreement – Albawaba.com.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)