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As Talks in Cairo Conclude, Roundup Continues in Gaza

Israel and the Palestinians concluded talks in Cairo on Wednesday, having made little progress in advance of a summit between Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Rabin and Arafat are scheduled to meet on Thursday.

As the talks drew to a close, Palestinian police continued their crackdown in Gaza, arresting more than 90 activists, many of them members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a rejectionist group opposed to the Israel-PLO accord.

The DFLP claimed responsibility for the terror attack earlier this week in which an Israeli security guard was killed and another wounded.

In Washington, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres praised the Palestinian crackdown.

“Over the past few days, the Palestinian Authority started to take seriously the danger of terror coming from Gaza,” he told reporters on Wednesday before meeting with Secretary of State Wareen Christopher.

The two days of talks in the Egyptian capital were aimed at arriving at a draft agreement on Palestinian elections in the territories. Saeb Erekat, the chief negotiator on elections, said he would have nothing to show Arafat.

He said negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians had reached a “crisis.”

But Yoel Singer, the head of the Israeli delegation, was more optimistic. He said the point of the talks was to come up with a draft document, and that anyone who had expected conclusive results would be disappointed.

The committees on elections agreed to meet in two weeks in Jericho. This would be the first such meeting in the autonomous area.

Meanwhile, in the West Bank, Israeli security forces rounded up more than 20 suspected activists from the fundamentalist groups Islamic Jihad and Hamas. The roundups occurred in Hebron, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Nablus.

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