Israeli and Palestinian negotiators began intensive negotiations near Jerusalem in an effort to reach a framework for a final peace agreement by a mid-February deadline. Sunday’s meeting was the start of an expected 10 days of discussions that could get a boost Wednesday with the anticipated arrival of U.S. special envoy Dennis Ross. In other developments, Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat met with President Clinton and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Switzerland over the weekend, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak traveled to Egypt on Sunday for talks with President Hosni Mubarak.
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