Arafat to resume cooperation with Israel on security issues

JERUSALEM, April 20 (JTA) — Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat has agreed to resume security coordination with Israel. Arafat broke off the coordination efforts in March after Israel began construction of Har Homa, a new Jewish neighborhood in southeastern Jerusalem. The resumption of security ties came as a result of U.S. Middle East peace envoy Dennis Ross’ shuttle to the region last week. That mission led to an April 17 meeting of Israeli and Palestinian security chiefs in the Gaza Strip. Israeli sources described the talks in Gaza as “an important start,” underscoring both sides’ recognition that security cooperation was a shared long-term interest. Ross returned to the United States over the weekend to brief President Clinton and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, with whom Ross will confer about the next steps to advance the peace process. In Washington, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said the main purpose of Ross’ shuttle was to clarify ways for renewing peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Burns added that large gaps between the two sides’ positions still had to be bridged.

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