Israel and PLO talk again

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The Independent Online
Israel and the PLO renewed their suspended peace talks, putting behind them weeks of bickering to hammer out terms for Palestinian self-rule in the occupied lands, Reuter reports from Taba.

They met in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Taba, trying to overcome obstacles to an Israeli troop withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and Jericho due to have begun on 13 December. The PLO expects agreement in three weeks on details of the accord signed in September in Washington. But Israel expects two months will be needed to iron out disputes over control of border crossings and the size of the self-rule enclaves.

In Damascus, Syria - critical till now of the Israeli-PLO deal - joined seven other Arab states yesterday in describing it as the first step on the path to peace.

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