Palestinians refuse to attend peace talks

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The Independent Online
JERUSALEM (Reuter) - Palestinians rejected a US and Russian invitation to Middle East peace talks yesterday, saying they could not return until Israel promised not to expel Palestinians in the future. 'We have refused to receive the invitation,' said Hanan Ashrawi, the Palestinians' spokeswoman.

Israel, whose expulsion of 415 Palestinians stymied the talks, said it would go to Washington on 20 April to talk with whichever groups of Arabs showed up. The peace talks, launched in October 1991, have been stalled since Israel expelled the Palestinians without trial to south Lebanon on 17 December, accusing them of links with militant Muslim groups. The US Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, said he was confident all parties, including the Palestinians, would attend the scheduled two weeks of talks.