Mideast talks extended with scant hope for breakthrough
May 4, 1998
Albright and Arafat met for several hours in London Monday
Web posted at: 2:35 p.m. EDT (1835 GMT)
LONDON (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on
Monday extended her separate talks with Israeli and
Palestinian leaders, but expressed skepticism about the
chances of breaking the deadlock over how much more
Israeli-controlled land should be put under Palestinian
administration in the West Bank.
Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, after a
meeting with Albright on Monday evening, said there had been
no progress yet.
Albright was due to hold a second meeting with Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later Monday.
The main sticking point in peace negotiations, stalled for
the last 14 months, has been the question of how much West
Bank land Israel will hand over to Palestinian rule. Israel
has previously said it would be willing to hand over another
9 percent, while Washington is said to be pushing for 13
percent -- a suggestion fully supported by Arafat.
After four and a half hours of talks with Netanyahu earlier
in the day, Albright was quoted as saying "the situation ...
hasn't changed" and there is no "compelling evidence that the
meetings will yield a breakthrough."
Albright and Netanyahu in London Monday
U.S. spokesman James Rubin told reporters after the session
between Albright and Netanyahu that the meeting was "very
good in tone ... but at this point, what we need is
But on the basis of the tone of the meetings, Rubin said,
Albright's staff was said to be "ever so slightly more
Rubin said it was possible that Albright could remain in
London for a second day of talks and again also declined to
rule out the possibility of a three-way meeting.
Rubin refused to answer when asked whether the Israeli prime
minister had offered any new ideas during his talks with
Rubin said the United States had previously briefed both the
Israelis and Palestinians on U.S. ideas "designed to bridge
the gap" between the two sides on the West Bank issue.
Correspondent Ralph Begleiter and Reuters contributed to this report.