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Palestinian PM Meets With US Envoy in Jordan - 2003-11-29

The Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Qureia, holds talks in Jordan Saturday with U.S. Middle East envoy William Burns. The meeting was to set the stage for talks Sunday between Mr. Burns and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on ways to promote peace in the region.

Mr. Qureia said Saturday he wants the U.S. administration to be involved in all efforts to revive the peace process.

He was speaking in the West Bank city of Ramallah shortly before traveling to Jordan to meet with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs William Burns.

Mr. Burns has been sent to the region to help revive progress on the stalled international road map to peace plan.

The plan, which is backed by the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, calls for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state by 2005.

Mr. Burns is expected to arrive in Jerusalem on Sunday for talks with the Israeli leader, Ariel Sharon, who is preparing to hold his first summit with Mr. Qureia.

Mr. Qureia says he wants to meet with Mr. Sharon only if the Israeli leader is prepared to make compromises on contentious issues.

The Palestinian prime minister is calling for a halt to construction of Israel's security barrier in the West Bank.

The Palestinians claim the project is an attempt by Israel to seize more land in the West Bank and unilaterally determine the borders of a future Palestinian state.

Mr. Sharon says the barrier will be completed and is being built only to protect Israeli citizens from terror attacks.