JERUSALEM (Jun. 28)
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat will hold a summit meeting in Paris next week, according to Environment Minister Yossi Sarid.
Sarid, who is also chief Israeli negotiator in newly resumed talks with the Palestinians, said that after the three men meet July 6, the date of Arafat’s visit to the autonomous areas of Jericho and the Gaza Strip will be much clearer.
The meeting will be the first between the three leaders since the May 4 signing in Cairo of the agreement for implementing Palestinian self-rule.
Sarid made the announcement Tuesday, when he and chief Palestinian negotiator Nabil Sha’ath met at the Erez Checkpoint at the northern end of Gaza for the resumption of formal discussions between Israel and the PLO.
The talks were scheduled to focus on two tracks: ironing out difficulties in the implementation of autonomy in Gaza and Jericho, and extending the autonomy to other areas of the West Bank.
According to a report on Israel Radio on Tuesday, Sha’ath recommended to Arafat that he delay his visit to the autonomous areas because security arrangements were insufficient.
In recent weeks, the date of Arafat’s visit has been postponed for a variety of reasons. They include the lack of promised funding from donor nations who pledged to support the nascent Palestinian autonomy; ongoing disputes regarding Palestinians still held in Israeli jails; and fears that the World Cup soccer competition, which ends in mid-July, will distract attention from the momentous visit.