US Officials Deny Clinton Intends to Issue Presidential Statement on Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

Published January 10th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

While Israeli officials cling to hopes that US President Bill Clinton's efforts to put an end to the conflict in the Middle East will at least end in a general US declaration about the state of the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis, US counterparts insisted that no such declaration is in the works, reported Haaretz newspaper.  

"The US government has no knowledge of an intention held by Bill Clinton to issue a presidential statement summing up the Israeli-Palestinian peace process," a well-placed US source was quoted by the daily as saying Tuesday.  

"All talk about such a presidential declaration refers to an Israeli idea which we know nothing about," the source added. 

Clinton, the source explained, has "already relayed his declaration, in a speech he delivered on Sunday in New York, in which he detailed the ideas he has submitted to the sides. He has nothing to add to this and, from this point on, any additional steps and progress depend upon the sides themselves." 

According to the paper, Palestinian officials appeared to dash Israeli hopes regarding the issuance of a US presidential statement.  

As one high-ranking PA official put it, rather than hastily seeking a "meaningless declaration full of holes," it would be better to wait until the next US administration takes power and until elections are held in Israel, Haaretz added. 

In the meantime, the Jerusalem Post newspaper reported Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's "peace cabinet" discussed Tuesday the current situation in the Palestinian territories, as well as US peace envoy Dennis Ross' arrival to Israel, which has been rescheduled for Thursday.  

Ross will try to clarify the details of Clinton's peace proposal to the two sides, and probe whether Israel and the PA are prepared to show flexibility, a US source told the daily. 

In the meantime, Haaretz reported that Israeli transportation minister Amnon Lipkin-Shahak met Tuesday night with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to discuss ways to end the ongoing violence in the territories and terrorist attacks against Israel. 

Haaretz also reported that although Barak's office announced Tuesday that Israel would resume security cooperation with the PA in response to a request made by CIA director George Tenet, as of Tuesday night, no meetings had been scheduled between IDF officers and their PA counterparts. 

"This delay in setting up security cooperation meetings is not merely due to logistical hitches," an Israeli military source disclosed.  

"Neither side is particularly enthusiastic about honoring the new commitment to resume security cooperation, the source indicated. Israel does not want to lift closures on areas in the territories until the PA takes steps to end violence, whereas the PA predicates future developments upon Israel first annulling the closures, the source added -- (Several Sources) 

 

 

 

© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)


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