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Peres, Arafat to Finalize Cease-Fire Details - 2001-09-25


Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat are scheduled to meet Wednesday at Gaza's international airport. The talks to shore up a shaky cease-fire come after intense diplomatic pressure.

The talks were to take place Sunday, but Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon cancelled the meeting at the last minute due to continuing violence. But, since then, there have been repeated phone calls from U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and pressure from European countries to go ahead with the meeting.

It appears Israeli and Palestinian officials have already drafted a plan to be signed by Mr. Arafat and Mr. Peres. According to Israeli media, the plan outlines a timetable to renew security cooperation and crack down on any perpetrators of violence. It also calls on Israel to lift its closure of Palestinian towns and villages, dismantle checkpoints and allow free movement of goods and people from Palestinian areas that remain calm. The two sides would then move on to other confidence building measures.

The plan is based on a cease-fire agreement initially drawn up in June by U.S. CIA Director George Tenet.

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