Facebook Twitter

ARABS AND ISRAELIS PREPARE TO RESUME MIDEAST PEACE TALKS

SHARE ARABS AND ISRAELIS PREPARE TO RESUME MIDEAST PEACE TALKS

Arab and Israeli negotiators prepared Friday to resume the Middle East peace talks, and a Syrian delegate expressed hope both sides will get down to "serious business . . . to justify the hopes of the world."

There was no official word on exactly when the conference would start, but it was widely expected to be on Monday. Sources predicted the two sides could get together late this weekend."We do not know at this time when the talks will resume, but we hope it will be as soon as possible," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

"We've been encouraging the parties to promptly set a starting time for the negotiations," he said.

The Israeli delegation was the first to arrive last Monday for the talks at the State Department. The joint Jordanian-Palestinian team flew in Thursday and the Syrian and the Lebanese on Friday.

The resumption of the talks became possible after the U.N. Security Council approved with U.S. support a resolution condemning Israel's plan to deport 12 Palestinians from the ocuupied territories for alleged terrorist activities. The Arabs, protesting the Israeli move, had boycotted the talks that were to get under way Tuesday.

"We hope to be able to catch up for the wasted time at this round," said Syrian spokesman Mowafak Allaf. "We hope to really get to the important issues, to serious business, in order to justify the hopes of the world and of our people."

The Syrians are pressing the Israelis to give up the Golan Heights, captured by Israel during the Six Day War in 1967. The Palestinians want the West Bank, Gaza and the part of Jerusalem populated mainly by Arabs. Lebanon is seeking to conclude arrangements with Israel that would eliminate Israeli presence in that country.

Israeli spokesman Raanan Gissin said Jerusalem was ready for "serious business."