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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 December 2005, 19:35 GMT
Israel delays Gaza bus link start
A Palestinian schoolboy arrives at the Rafah border crossing
Israeli officials have not decided when the convoys can begin
The Israeli government has postponed the implementation of an agreement that will allow Palestinian bus convoys between Gaza and the West Bank.

Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz has agreed to resume talks on the link, but will not let it start until his concerns about security have been addressed.

The service was agreed at talks brokered by the US last month, and was due to begin on Thursday.

Palestinians hope it will greatly improve their freedom of movement.

A statement from the Israeli Defence Ministry said the government had agreed "to start talks on operating the land link", but had not decided when the convoys could begin.

Israel's cabinet had suspended the talks earlier this month after a suicide bombing killed five Israelis in Netanya.


On Thursday, Deputy Defence Minister Zeev Boim told Israel Radio that it had been a mistake to sign the agreement negotiated by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Mr Boim said that Israel should have resisted pressure from the US to agree to the bus link.

He wanted the US to instead force the Palestinian Authority to first stop attacks on Israel by militants.

Last Thursday Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called the move to suspend talks a "flagrant violation" of the agreement.

US negotiators remain hopeful of brokering a compromise.

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