Arafat and Mubarak hold "constructive" talks on peace proposals

Thursday 28 December 2000 15.42

The Palestinian President has said that he held constructive talks with the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, on Middle East peace proposals put forward by President Clinton. Speaking after the summit in Egypt, Yasser Arafat said that an Arab summit committee would address the ideas next Monday. The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, cancelled a trip to the meeting after Palestinians raised objections to the American proposals. Israel's security cabinet has conditionally accepted the US ideas.

Egypt earlier announced the cancellation of today's summit meeting between the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, and the Palestinian President. Officials gave no explanation for the cancellation of the meeting which was due to have been chaired by the Egyptian President at the resort of Sharem el-Sheikh.

The Israeli Deputy Defence Minister has confirmed that Israel has accepted the compromise peace proposals put forward by President Clinton as a basis for discussion. In a letter to the White House yesterday, the Palestinian leadership expressed its reservations about the proposals, they are seeking clarification on a number of points. Intense diplomatic contacts are continuing, and it may be many days before it is known whether this attempt to forge a peace agreement will succeed.