Arabs set to attend talks next week

WASHINGTON - The Arab parties to the bilateral peace talks with Israel in Washington said yesterday they proposed to return to the negotiating table next Tuesday, writes Charles Richards.

In Jerusalem, Yitzhak Shamir said Israel had no plans to deport more Palestinians, but made clear such measures were not ruled out in the future.

Mr Shamir said: 'We have previously stated that the deportations of December 1992 were unprecedented and exceptional, and now, as negotiations resume, the Israeli government has no plans to resort to further deportations.' He added: 'Naturally, however, Israel, like all nations, must retain its inherent power to take all necessary lawful steps to protect its people.'

The Arab decision came after a meeting in Damascus of the foreign ministers of Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, and the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Yasser Arafat. Their statement said: 'Stemming from the Arab parties' keen interest to give a new opportunity for efforts aimed at establishing a just and comprehensive peace and in light of the US commitment to play the role of full partner, the Arab ministers propose to the co-sponsors (the US and Russia) to start the ninth session on 27 April 1993.'

The United States Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, welcomed the decision: 'Too much time had been lost and now there is an opportunity for the parties to work together and make tangible progress,' he said