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Israel's Peres set to meet with U.S. officials

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Israel's foreign minister opens two days of talks with U.S. officials Wednesday over an Egyptian-Jordanian plan to end months of Mideast strife.

Shimon Peres planned to argue for more U.S. involvement in the Mideast peace process in meetings Wednesday with Secretary of State Colin Powell and Thursday with President Bush.

Peres has been talking with Egypt and Jordan about the prospect of a cease-fire and a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks after seven months of clashes.

  AUDIO
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CNN's Jerrold Kessel: One Palestinian killed and eleven reported injured during Israeli incursion in Gaza

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 TIMELINES
graphic Recent acts of violence in the Middle East:
 • Bombings
 • Activist deaths
 
  ALSO
 

Peres met with Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah last weekend to discuss the initiative, which calls for talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to resume four weeks after a cease-fire took effect.

"To have an agreement, you have to sit with a piece of paper and write it down in small print. This did not yet happen," Peres said Monday during a visit to the United Nations. "But as a general concept, we reached an understanding."

Israel is seeking a trial period of two or three months before restarting negotiations.

"We will consider the situation only according to the results on the ground, and not according to statements and promises," Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told Javier Solana, the European Union security affairs chief at a meeting on Monday.

Israel insists that the violence must end before it resumes peace talks with the Palestinians, but it agreed over the weekend to lift restrictions on Palestinian workers.

After an earlier hands-off approach, the Bush administration has recently adopted a more active role in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

Two weeks ago it condemned an Israeli reoccupation of a corner of Gaza, with Israeli forces quickly withdrawing -- although it strongly denied this was a result of international pressure.



RELATED STORIES:
Five killed in Gaza, West Bank home blasts
April 30, 2001
Peres: Israel, Palestinians near 'understanding' on cease-fire
April 30, 2001
Mideast cease-fire still elusive
April 29, 2001
Mideast talks amid clashes
April 27, 2001
Jordan official discusses peace with Israelis, Palestinians
April 16, 2001

RELATED SITES:
Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Israeli Prime Minister's Office
Knesset, Israeli Parliament
Israel Defense Forces
Permanent Mission of Israel to the U.N.
Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian Red Crescent
Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the U.N.
U.S. State Department, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs
U.N. Question of Palestine home page
The E.U.'s Middle East Policy

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