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Wednesday, 31 October, 2001, 06:58 GMT
Peres pushes new peace plan
Shimon Peres and Ariel Sharon
Peres and Sharon disagree over peace proposals
Israeli Foreign Secretary Shimon Peres says he intends to submit new Middle East peace proposals to the Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon.

Mr Peres said on Israeli television that he had prepared a draft plan which he wanted to hear comments on - but only after it was seen by Mr Sharon.

Yasser Arafat: Weekend meeting with Peres
Mr Peres refused to confirm a newspaper report (in the Maariv daily) that his plan included the dismantling of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip - a proposal which has been strongly opposed in the past by Mr Sharon.

Mr Sharon is also reported to object to a meeting reportedly planned by Mr Peres with the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, during an economic conference on the Spanish island of Majorca at the weekend.

No negotiations

Mr Peres said the meeting would probably take place: "We shall probably meet, but we are not going to negotiate because I think that negotiations should be prepared very carefully, otherwise it will create a disappointment instead of a hope."

Speaking from Rome where he met Pope John Paul II and Italian leaders, Mr Arafat said he was not opposed to the meeting.

The two men met on 26 September in Gaza, when they spoke of their commitment to an Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire.

Since then, an Israeli cabinet minister has been killed by Palestinian gunmen, and Israeli troops have moved back into parts of the West Bank, causing an upsurge in violence that left many dead on both sides.

Organisers of the annual conference said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was also expected to attend.

The meeting in Formentor on Majorca falls on the 10th anniversary of the Madrid Conference which launched the Arab-Israeli peace process.

Danny Ben Simon, political columnist with Ha'aretz
"Shimon Peres will have to do a lot of work.... in order to show the Israeli that there is an alternative to Sharon's way"
See also:

31 Oct 01 | UK Politics
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31 Oct 01 | Middle East
Israel seizes Palestinian militant
26 Oct 01 | Middle East
Analysis: US unease over Israeli action
28 Oct 01 | Middle East
Rumsfeld: Iraq may be target
18 Jun 01 | Middle East
Shimon Peres: Fighter for peace
29 Jun 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
The future of the Jewish settlements
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