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Christopher Optimistic About Israeli-syrian Talks

January 10, 1996
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher arrived in Israel this week, riding high on a wave of optimism about the chances for progress in the Israel-Syria peace negotiations.

Speaking to reporters after his talks Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Christopher said he thought that both sides had demonstrated unprecedented openness.

“There is now a much more meaningful dialogue between the parties than in the past,” he said. “Though there are very serious gaps, I arrived here in a hopeful frame of mind.”

Peres said he hoped that a peace accord could be hammered out before Israeli general elections, scheduled for late October.

“If it is possible to have a complete and full agreement before our mandate expired as a government, which will be on Oct. 29, we shall welcome it, that is our desire,” the prime minister said.

U.S. and Israeli officials said the purpose of Christopher’s shuttle mission to Jerusalem and Syria, where he will be on Friday, is to establish the framework for continuing negotiations between the two sides, to resume Jan. 21 at the Wye Plantation in Maryland.

Officials said efforts would be made so that talks could address some of the substantive issues, including security arrangements and the extend of an Israeli withdrawal on the Golan Heights.

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