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Palestinians resume contacts with Peres

Palestinian leadership decides to resume contacts with Peres

The Palestinian leadership has approved on December 25th to continue the political contacts Legislative Council Speaker Ahmed Korei' (Abu Ala) is conducting with Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. Palestinian President Yasser Arafat media advisor Nabil Abu Rdeineh said that the negotiations high committee held a meeting with Arafat in Ramallah yesterday and "listened to a detailed explanation from Abu Ala' on his contacts with Peres and decided to resume these talks," Abu Rdeineh said.

Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo will also join Abu Ala' in these talks. An anonymous Palestinian source said that Peres demands two years for an interim period while the Palestinian side insists that it does not exceed 18 months.

A Palestinian official said that the most important matter in these contacts is that it deals with the political issues and not only the security issues. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stated two days ago his approval for these meetings which have been taking place for the past two months. "This means that the Israeli government began to realize that there is no solution but a political one," Abu Rdeineh said. "These contacts or other ones only aim to implement international legitimacy resolution, an Israeli withdrawal from all occupied territory in preparation for the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital," he said. Abu Rdeineh confirmed that Peres-Korei' meetings began when President Arafat met Peres at Gaza International Airport in October "with the knowledge of the president (Arafat) and Sharon." No Palestinian official has confirmed the unsigned document that Peres submitted to Korei' and was published by the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot.

Published in Al Quds Newspaper - December 26, 2001.

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