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Israeli urges Clinton to join Mideast talks

Israeli President Ezer Weizman Thursdaysaid he had told President Clinton he must intervene in peace talks so Israel and the Palestinian Authority can reach an agreement. A Palestinian official criticized the U.S. role.

"With the Palestinians, right now, we are stuck in the mud, but not too bad," Weizman told reporters. "Definitely, the president has a role to play. Without America we will not clinch deals."Later, at a separate news conference, Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian official, said American mediation between the two sides was marked by "form rather than content, appearance rather than substance."

Ashrawi said the United States had adopted Israel's position that security was the prerequisite for a settlement with the Palestinians. She said that was unworkable and illegal.

"We believe security is only one component," Ashrawi said.

Also, she said Hamas, which has claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks on Israel, was part of the Palestinian picture.