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The BBC's Paul Adams reports
"It all leaves the Palestinians feeling frustrated and angry"
 real 28k

Monday, 7 February, 2000, 18:05 GMT
Palestinians freeze peace talks

Mr Arafat says Israel has reneged on commitments
Israeli-Palestinian negotiations appear to have ground to a halt - a least temporarily.

Palestinian officials say that they can have no meaningful negotiations with their Israeli counterparts until Israel makes it clear how it intends to pursue the peace process in the coming months.
Middle East

A senior Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, says his side is waiting for answers to a number of questions put to the Israeli chief negotiator on Saturday. Without satisfactory clarifications, Mr Erekat says, there is no point in continuing with the talks.

Israeli officials continue to deny that the talks are in crisis - saying they believe negotiations will resume within days.

Crucial questions

We're hoping to be contacted by the Israelis so we can resume the negotiations

Saeb Erekat, Palestinian negotiator
Mr Erekat said that the Palestinians were waiting for Israel to reply to three questions before negotiations could be resumed.

These were submitted to his Israeli counterpart Oded Eran in a meeting attended by US Middle East envoy Dennis Ross.

"We're hoping to be contacted by the Israelis so we can resume the negotiations. It's irrelevant if the talks are suspended or not. It's important to receive the clarifications we seek," Mr Erekat said.

According to Mr Erekat, the Palestinians needed to know:
  • Whether Israel intends to carry out its next troop withdrawal without consulting them.
  • Beyond this, would Israel agree to set a date for one last redeployment as part of interim negotiations?
  • And lastly, does Israel intend to continue negotiations on the outlines of a final settlement beyond a 13 February deadline or does it want to scrap the framework and simply get on with the final agreement?

Arafat and Barak at talks last week
The BBC's Paul Adams in Jerusalem says that for the time being there is little indication that Israel intends to modify its proposed troop withdrawal which does not include areas close to Jerusalem as demanded by the Palestinians.

Nor does it seem Israel will agree to any further withdrawals except as part of final status negotiations.

Both sides have warned they would probably not make the 13 February deadline for sketching the outlines of a permanent peace treaty they hope to achieve by September.

The Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, on Sunday accused Israel of reneging on Middle East peace commitments and has called off the latest round of talks.

Mr Arafat said Jewish settlements were expanding more under the government of Ehud Barak than under the previous one and were the most serious problem his people faced.

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See also:

06 Feb 00 |  Middle East
Arafat: Israel breaching accords
06 Feb 00 |  Middle East
No peace crisis says Israel
06 Feb 00 |  Middle East
Barak threatens reprisals
06 Feb 00 |  Middle East
Ray of hope for Palestinian refugees
05 Feb 00 |  Middle East
US intervenes in West Bank dispute
24 Jan 00 |  Middle East
Final status schedule slipping
18 Jan 00 |  Middle East
Barak turns to Palestinians
11 Jan 00 |  Middle East
Washington's 'roadmap' to peace
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