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Taba Talks Continuing

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Israeli and Egyptian negotiators will spend Thursday in Taba surveying at first hand the disputed beach site over which the future arbitration is to be held.

Israel’s chief negotiator, Avraham Tamir, Director-General of the Prime Minister’s office, said Wednesday he hoped the arbitration document could be wrapped up by the end of next week and submitted to the Cabinet for ratification.

He said that he and David Kimche, Director-General of the Foreign Ministry, would fly to Cairo early next week for a concluding round of talks with Foreign Minister Ismet Abdel Meguid and his aides.

The trip to Taba this week is in connection with preparing the annex to the arbitration document. This annex must show clearly and graphically, either by map or by aerial photographs, the precise location and dimension of the disputed points. The negotiating teams held informal talks and launched into intensive formal sessions Wednesday morning at a hotel in Herzliya.

Prior to this round, the legal adviser to the U.S. State Department, Abraham Sofaer, held high-level meetings in Jerusalem and Cairo hoping to smooth out last-minute difficulties and ensure that the two sides can wrap up the document of arbritration.

Tamir said that he and Kimche would finalize next week with the Egyptians the names of three third-party arbitrators, who together with one Egyptian and one Israeli jurist will comprise the five-person arbitration panel.

Israel’s nominee has already been announced: she is Prof. Ruth Lapidot of the Hebrew University, a leading international lawyer.

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