Arafat says recent negotiations with Israel were fruitless
Palestine-Israel, Politics, 8/15/1998
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat informed on Friday members of his government and the PLO executive committee that the recent negotiations with Israel were fruitless.
According to Palestinian news agency Wafa, Arafat also called the USA to charge Israel with responsibility for the total deadlock in the Middle East peace process.
The USA had proposed an initiative consisting of an Israeli military withdrawal from 13 percent of the West Bank in exchange for a Palestinian commitment to fight terrorism. Israeli and Palestinian officials have held 8 rounds of negotiations since July 18, without reaching any result, Map reported.
Palestinian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nabil Shaath denied the existence of any new communications between Palestinian and Israeli officials.
In phone statements to ArabicNews.com he said that the last meeting was held on August 4 between Isaac Molcho, the judicial advisor for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.
He added, "We informed Israel of the Palestinian position concerning the area of 3% about which Israel offers to be a natural protectorate."
He said that Palestinian President Yasser Arafat sent on August 7 a message to US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright concerning this matter, adding "We wait for the Israelis to declare their approval of the American initiative."
He also said the Palestinians refuse to become part of the Israeli public relations "game" that aims at hiding Israeli lack of interest in resolving the outstanding problems.
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