US tries to revive Middle East talks

President Bill Clinton's peace envoy to the Middle East, Dennis Ross, said he was meeting Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the hope of resuscitating talks on Hebron and Jewish settlements.

"The important thing that I am trying to do is to re-energise the peace process and then be in a position to go back in a couple of days to report back to the President," Mr Ross said. He held meetings with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem, and with the Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat, in Gaza. His last mediation effort collapsed in October. Mr Arafat, who earlier cast doubts on Mr Ross's objectivity, said after meeting the US envoy yesterday: "It was very constructive and fruitful and an important meeting. We discussed how to push the peace process forward in all means." Reuters - Jerusalem