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Israel and Syria make progress

WASHINGTON - Signs of a first breakthrough appeared in the Middle East peace talks yesterday after Israel and Syria announced they had moved towards issuing a joint statement of principles for an eventual regional settlement, writes David Usborne.

After the third day of the current session of the peace conference here, both countries offered a notably upbeat assessment of the progress being made between them, based on a text submitted by Syrian negotiators. 'We hope that the same seriousness and the same businesslike atmosphere will continue so that at the end of this round maybe we can come out with something that can be acceptable to both sides,' a Syrian delegate said.