Wednesday, December 16, 1998 Published at 18:35 GMT
World: Middle East
Israel cancels troop pull out
Mr Netanyahu expects more guarantees from the Palestinians
The Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has confirmed that his government will not go ahead with a planned troop withdrawal from parts of the occupied West Bank.
"The prime minister [says] that he cannot at this stage report to the government that the Palestinians have carried out their part and that we will be able to implement the withdrawal on the 18th of the month," an Israeli cabinet statement said.
But a senior aide, Nabil Sha'ath, said that, contradictory to an earlier statement by a Palestinian spokesman the Palestinian Authority would continue to implement the accord, even if Israel did not.
Clinton's visit fails
The Israeli cabinet session was called a day after US President Bill Clinton ended a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories which failed to achieve its aim of getting the Wye accord back on track.
But he said this was insufficient and demanded the Palestinians meet a long list of other conditions, ranging from renouncing any unilateral declaration of independence to rounding up suspected terrorists and collecting illegal weapons in the Palestinian territories.
The Palestinians countered that they had been fulfilling their security obligations under the Wye accord, and accused Mr Netanyahu of suspending the accord out of fear that right-wing hardliners opposed to the agreement will topple his government in a parliamentary vote of confidence scheduled for Monday.
"This is [Mr] Netanyahu's last step before declaring that he is withdrawing completely from the peace process," Mr Asfour said.
"He should have the political courage to declare the real reason for his action, which is his fear of being toppled and not Palestinian violations," he said.