Israel is set to begin peace talk with the Palestinians. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has approved the talks in response to a stoppage of attacks from
the occupied territories. The new Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has deployed his police force to try to prevent attacks and has entered into a
series of agreements with the insurgent groups.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has approved a start to diplomatic talks with the Palestinians in response to a lull in
militant attacks secured by their new leader Mahmoud Abbas, officials said on Wednesday. The decision came hours before senior U.S. diplomat William
Burns was to arrive on a fresh White House mission to revive a "road map" peace plan envisaging a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
co-existing with a secure Israel.
Palestinian Negotiations Minister Saeb Erekat was to meet top diplomatic advisers to Sharon in Jerusalem shortly to launch the new dialog.
Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres said the new diplomatic contacts aimed initially to coordinate with Palestinians a planned Israeli pullout from
occupied Gaza this year. Sharon has cast the plan as "disengagement" from four years of conflict.
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It may be naiveté on my part, but I really have hopes for this. Quite simply this is our best and perhaps last chance to attain any sort of peace in
the region. Barring this, I cannot see anything on the horizon other than a massive bloody war that could be the spark needed to ignite World War III.
I agree with FredT, its something you dare'nt say aloud for fear of something wrecking it. Its looking very very promising indeed.
The only remaining stumbling blocks are Israel's release of the 7,000 Palestinians they still hold in jail and Sharon getting the planned pull outs
and disengagement through the Knesset. On the Palestinians side they need to ensure Hammas and Islamic Jihad dont splinter after a truce is announced
llike the IRA did with "The Real IRA"
I think Ghaddafi should join in the negotiations as an intermediary as his thawing of relations with the West was astounding to say the least. He knew
exactly the right buttons to push to get a decent relationship started again with the US and Britain.
An approximately two hour meeting between Dov Weisglass, Shalom Turgeman and Assaf Shariv (attended for the Israel side) and Saeb Erekat, Hassan Abu
Libdeh and Muhammad Dahlan (attended for the Palestinian side) took place this morning (Wednesday, 26.1.05).
The sides agreed to meet again next week.
(Until then, security contacts will continue).
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