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Palestinians, Israel to again talk about talks, Arafat says

SHARE Palestinians, Israel to again talk about talks, Arafat says

Israeli and Palestinian officials will hold more meetings next week on ways to revive stalled Middle East peace moves, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat said on Friday.

But key Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat played down the significance of the meetings, saying they would not constitute negotiations on the handover of more West Bank land to the Palestinians."There will be regular meetings next week between Abu Mazen (Palestinian negotiator Mahmoud Abbas) and Minister Kahalani," Arafat said after meeting Israeli Public Security Minister Avigdor Kahalani.

The two men held 90 minutes of talks in the West Bank town of Ramallah two days after Palestinians called off a brief series of negotiations on an American peace initiative.

Erekat, who participated in the talks, pointed out that Kahalani was not a member of the Israeli negotiating team and said the meetings next week would just be talks about talks.

"I don't know what the president meant when he said Abu Mazen would meet Kahalani but maybe it's within the context of the day-to-day problems that were raised," he told reporters.

Asked if such meetings would constitute negotiations on the American proposals, Erekat said: "I would not describe it as that."