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February 11, 1994 - Image 61

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-02-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Syrian Talks Stalled,
PLO Talks Resume

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INTERIORS

Hafez Assad:
Position seems ambiguous.

of media scrutiny would spur
progress.
But according to a senior
Israeli official, the talks
have made little headway.
The Syrians are still refus-
ing to spell out what kind of
relations they are prepared
to have with Israel, and un-
til they do so, Israel is un-
willing to specify the ter-
ritorial concessions it is
prepared to make on the
Golan Heights.
The official suggested that
one reason for the lack of
progress may be disarray in
Syrian ranks after the death
of Mr. Assad's son Bassel.
The Israelis are under the
impression that their Syrian
counterparts are not receiv-
ing the guidance from
Damascus they need before
they can move forward, the
official said.
Meanwhile, there were
new signs of hope from the
Middle East this week that
Israel and the Palestine Lib-
eration Organization would
soon conclude arduous
negotiations over the
implementation of the
autonomy accord they
signed last September in
Washington.
Mr. Peres, who had
returned to Israel over the
weekend, flew to Cairo
where he resumed talks with
PLO leader Yassir Arafat.
This was the third such
meeting between the two
leaders in as many weeks.
Israeli sources voiced op-
timism that long-standing

differences about security
issues could be resolved dur-

ing this round of talks. ❑

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FEBRUAR Y

New York (JTA) — Hopes for
meaningful progress in the
Israeli-Syrian peace talks
following President Clin-
ton's recent meeting with
Syrian President Hafez
Assad have not yet mate-
rialized, according to Israeli
officials.
While the Clinton-Assad
meeting in Geneva last mon-
th may have created a "new
climate" in Israeli-Syrian
relations, "we do not see a
change" in the bilateral
peace negotiations, Israeli
Foreign Minister Shimon
Peres told Jewish organiza-
tional leaders here last
week.
Those negotiations resum-
ed in Washington two weeks
ago, after a four-month
hiatus, amid expectations
that the two sides would
finally break the deadlock
that has plagued the talks
since their inception.
Expectations were raised
when Mr. Clinton reported
after his meeting with Mr.
Assad that the Syrian leader
had said he was ready to es-
tablish normal relations
with Israel, "like between
good neighbors."
Clinton administration of-
ficials initially described Mr.
Assad's stance as a
breakthrough in the peace
talks, but Israeli reaction
was more subdued.
The problem, said Mr.
Peres, is that Mr. Assad did
not go as far as Mr. Clinton
said he had. In his own
statements, the Syrian
leader promised only to work
for a "new era of security
and stability, in which nor-
mal peaceable relations
among all shall dawn on the
region."
"We wish Assad would use
the same words as Clinton,"
Mr. Peres said in an address
to the Conference of Presi-
dents of Major American
Jewish Organizations.
"Whereas Clinton was for-
thcoming and generous" in
his remarks, Mr. Peres said,
Mr. Assad was "economic
and careful.
"On the issue of peace,
Clinton was clear, Assad
was silent," he said. "On the
issue of security, Assad's
position was ambiguous."
Little is known about what
has actually transpired since
the negotiations resumed in
Washington. The talks have
been held in a secret location
in the hope that the absence

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