The last hope for a quick breakthrough in Israeli-PLO talks faded Thursday as Yasser Arafat left Cairo and an adviser to the PLO chief said Israel's latest offer was unacceptable.

The talks foundered on an issue that has bedeviled them from the start - control of the borders to Egypt from the Gaza Strip and to Jordan from the West Bank town of Jericho, the areas where Palestinian self-rule is to first begin.The border dispute and arguments on other details will probably mean a further postponement of up to three weeks in starting Israel's withdrawal.

Ahmed Tibi, who has acted as a go-between for Arafat and the Israelis, told Israel radio that the PLO had studied the latest Israeli offer and found it unacceptable "at this stage."

"It does not answer the minimal demands of the Palestinians," said Tibi, a physician with offices in Jerusalem.

Arafat refused to talk to reporters after a meeting Thursday with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa, who has been a mediator for the two sides.

Moussa also said nothing after the meeting, and Arafat left Cairo without holding a second round of talks with President Hosni Mubarak, who has been pressing Arafat to agree to a deal. Arafat was reported headed for Jordan for talks with King Hussein.

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Mahmoud Abbas, the PLO's main negotiator, left for Tunisia on Thursday, telling reporters that the PLO had authorized continued negotiations by a subcommittee on security and that he may return to Cairo next week for more talks.

On Wednesday, after 21/2 days of negotiations, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres announced the two sides had reached "a meeting of the minds" on the various sticking points. But the PLO in Tunisia responded with a blast at Israel on the border issue.

The gritty details of withdrawal proved more complicated than envisioned in the landmark Sept. 13 accord granting Palestinians autonomy.

The accord called for Israel to start withdrawing Dec. 13 and complete its pullout April 13. But the deadline passed with the two sides still arguing about borders, the exact size of the Jericho area and protection of Jewish settlers.

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