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Arafat to Chair PLO Meeting Ratify Truce Proposal

Arafat to Chair PLO Meeting to Discuss, Ratify Truce Proposal

PNA Seeks Guarantees for Israeli Compliance

President Yasser Arafat will chair in Ramallah Sunday two separate meetings for the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the central committee of Fatah to discuss the results of the first high-level Palestinian-Israeli security meeting since US President George W. Bush launched the “roadmap” peace plan at Aqaba summit last week.

The meetings are set to ratify a proposed new plan for the Palestine National Authority (PNA) to take over security responsibility in areas to be evacuated by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF), a senior Palestinian official told AFP.

Israeli and Palestinian security officials met late Saturday at the residence of US ambassador Dan Kurzler at Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv, to discuss a partial withdrawal of IOF troops from reoccupied Palestinian land, officials on both sides said.

Among those attending the talks were Palestinian Minister of state for Security Affairs Mohammed Dahlan, the coordinator for IOF activities in the Palestinian territory General Amos Gilad and representatives of Israel's Shin Beth intelligence service.

On the table was a proposal that Israel withdraw from parts of the Gaza Strip to positions held by the IOF before the eruption of the Palestinian Intifadah in September 2000, officials on both sides said.

Shortly before the joint meeting, Arafat chaired in Ramallah a series of meetings with senior Palestinian security officials, attended by PM Abbas and Dahlan, to approve a plan outlining the security arrangements for such areas.

Palestinian Information Minister Nabil Amre confirmed on Saturday that the PNA was ready to take over the security task in areas to be vacated by the IOF in Gaza Strip in line with the “roadmap” and not according to Israel’s wishes.

“We have informed all the concerned parties about this issue and we hope that the American envoy starts working seriously and we hope that Israelis will show seriousness in this respect too,” he said.

Amre said that PNA Prmeier Abbas “has rejected Israel's perspective of selective pullouts from some Palestinian regions, as this pullout must be according to the roadmap with guarantees by a third party.”

The PNA Minister for Cabinet Affairs Yasser Abed Rabbo meanwhile said there was a proposal to withdraw IOF from Gaza and two West Bank cities as there were talks on the possibility of both Palestinian and Israeli sides issuing a ceasefire statement.

However, the PNA insisted on guarantees to ensure that Israel honors its obligations.

“This requires guarantees and clear obligations from Israel to stop assassinations, (military) incursions, arrests and all other forms of aggression against the Palestinian people,” Abed Rabbo said.

A 12-member US team of monitors has arrived in Israel and was expected to immediately meet with Israeli security officials, Israel’s public radio said.

The Assistant Secretary of State John Wolf heads the team of CIA and State Department officials who are authorized by President Bush to supervise the implementation of the “roadmap” peace plan.


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