Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Plo, Israel Reopening Talks Egyptian Minister Predicts New Plans

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Plo, Israel Reopening Talks Egyptian Minister Predicts New Plans

Article excerpt

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators may have new proposals to work with today in their third attempt to smooth over the differences that have delayed their peace plan.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa expressed hope Sunday that today's talks would be the last before the two sides sign a pact detailing Israel's withdrawal from occupied land, as called for in the peace plan.

The two sides hope to pave the way for a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and the start of Israeli withdrawal from the city of Jericho and from the Gaza Strip.

Arafat, who arrived Sunday in Cairo, briefed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the results of talks last week, Foreign Minister Moussa said. He then made his forecast of new proposals today.

In Jerusalem Sunday, Rabin told his Cabinet that Israel was ready to double the amount of land that it would cede to Palestinian control around the West Bank city of Jericho, Israeli radio said.

Israeli radio reported that Israel would offer 20 square miles - nearly double its original offer - for an autonomous area that would include Jericho and two adjacent refugee camps. Arafat has asked for as much as 140 square miles.

But Rabin told the Cabinet that Israel would not agree to let the Palestinian self-rule region reach the Dead Sea to the south or to include any Jewish settlements, Trade Minister Micha Harish said after the Cabinet's weekly meeting.

The daily newspaper Haaretz said Foreign Minister Shimon Peres had offered the Palestinians a compromise under which the area between the autonomous region and the Dead Sea would be used for Israeli-Palestinian joint ventures.

Regarding the border crossings with Jordan and Egypt, Harish said Israel would insist on control over security but that all other issues were open to negotiation.

However, sources said the real problem appeared to be that Rabin was determined that the Palestinians should stop proclaiming that the self-rule they would get under the Israeli-PLO plan signed Sept. 13 would lead automatically to an independent state.

That plan says only that self-rule will last for an interim period of five years, during which Israel and the Palestinians will negotiate a permanent peace settlement. …

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