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U.S. Pushes Hard for Unlikely Mideast Peace Summit

Aired October 13, 2000 - 8:18 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Right now we want to take you to a different part of the Middle East, about two hours south of Jerusalem in Gaza, where the Palestinian authority is based.

We have CNN's Rula Amin there.

Rula, the situation seem a lot quieter there than it is in Ramallah today?

RULA AMIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Carol, it is quiet. There are diplomatic efforts underway, intensive efforts. The president of the Palestinian authority, Yasser Arafat, met with both the British Foreign Minister and the Norwegian Foreign Minister. Also, the secretary-general of United Nations, Kofi Annan, who is in Jerusalem, had been trying to talk to Mr. Arafat since the morning and we are expecting a visit by Mr. Annan to Gaza at some point later today.

Of course there is a U.S. push -- the U.S. is pushing hard, trying to convene a summit in Cairo, in Sharm el Sheikh, in Egypt. Tomorrow evening, the U.S. is hoping -- tomorrow evening a summit between President Clinton, Yasser Arafat, Ehud Barak and Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian President.

So far the Palestinian president did not give his OK, he did not say that he would attend. The Palestinian officials are saying that Mr. Arafat would like to see a halt to what they term as Israeli aggression against them. Also, Mr. Arafat is demanding that, before he goes to such a summit, he wants to make sure that the Israelis stop their measures in which they are, effectively, cutting off the West Bank from Gaza, cutting off the West Bank and Gaza from the rest of the world, because Israeli forces have shut down all the border crossings that are between Gaza and the rest of the world, and the West Bank and Gaza. And that, Mr. Arafat is saying, is crucial before he attends any summit or before he meets Mr. Barak.

Another interesting development today, just now we were at a refugee camp and there were militias that were formed here. They say that they are from (SPEAKING IN ARABIC) organization, Mr. Arafat's main organization, but they're not part of his security forces. They say they are civilians. They just formed these new militias, they have guns, and they say they want these militias in the face of Mr. Barak's attack.

They say that Mr. Barak had said that his strike, yesterday, on the Palestinian territory was limited and restrained and that is -- they are anticipating more and they say, in the face of these threats they have formed these militias to resist and fight any Israeli soldiers who will try to come into Gaza or attack Palestinians -- Carol.

LIN: All right, thank you very much Rula Amin, covering Gaza for us.

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