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The BBC's Hilary Andersson reports
"The Israelis and the Palestinians have come nowhere near reaching an agreement"
 real 28k

Sunday, 13 February, 2000, 11:15 GMT
Mid-East deadline passes

Arafat and Barak
Arafat and Barak - not seeing eye to eye

The deadline for Israelis and Palestinians to reach a framework agreement on a final peace deal expires on Sunday with no agreement on the table.

Talks between the two sides are currently stalled over the issue of land handovers.

Middle East

In a separate development, Israeli security forces have been put on alert in urban areas after receiving bomb threats.

Israeli radio reported that army units are stepping up checks at crossings points into Israel from the West Bank and Gaza strip. Police have been deployed in markets, shopping centres and at bus stations.

Security services have also arrested the head of the Islamic movement at the University of Ramallah in the West Bank.

Early recriminations

Sunday should have seen a landmark in the peace process, with both sides signing a framework agreement which would pave the way for a final peace agreement in September.

A statement issued by the Palestinian Authority after its weekly cabinet on Saturday squarely blamed Israel for the failure.

US Middle East Envoy Dennis Ross Hopes are pinned to the visit of Dennis Ross
The statement called the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations "hollow".

"The Israeli government refuses to negotiate the redeployment and has insisted that it be the only side with the right to decide the areas from which to withdraw," it said.

The Palestinian Authority also repeated its call for international parties to play a role in supporting the peace process.

Frozen talks

The talks are held up by disagreement over a land handover that should have take place last month.

The Palestinians wanted to be given land in the East Jerusalem area, but the Israelis insist that they alone are responsible for deciding which land to give away.

Other outstanding and more difficult issues, such as the future of Jerusalem and the future of Jewish settlements, have yet to be addressed.

The Palestinians have proposed that negotiations move right on to discussion on the terms of a final status agreement, without agreeing to a framework deal first.

US mediator, Dennis Ross, is expected in the region this week and he may help move the talks

BBC Jerusalem correspondent Hilary Andersson says the current status of the peace talks casts serious doubt on whether a final agreement will be reached by the end of this year.

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See also:
07 Feb 00 |  Middle East
Palestinians freeze peace talks
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
03 Feb 00 |  Middle East
Mid-East deadline 'impossible to meet'
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
Analysis: The 'roadmap' to peace

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