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Israelis, Palestinians will call for cease-fire

The Associated Press

SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt – Israel’s prime minister and the leader of the Palestinians agreed Tuesday to take ”immediate concrete measures” to end violence in the Middle East that has left more than 100 people dead and shattered prospects for a peace agreement.

Tuesday, October 17, 2000

SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt – Israel’s prime minister and the leader of the Palestinians agreed Tuesday to take ”immediate concrete measures” to end violence in the Middle East that has left more than 100 people dead and shattered prospects for a peace agreement.

A two-day emergency summit ended with the surprise announcement by President Clinton. Right until the end, gloom hung over the talks, and it appeared they would break up with no agreement and no prospects for a resumption of negotiations for a peace settlement.

”I believe we have made real progress today,” Clinton said. ”Repairing the damage will take time and great effort by all of us.”

”Both sides have agreed to issue public statements unequivocally calling for an end of violence they also agreed to take immediate concrete measures to end the current confrontation, eliminate points of friction, ensure an end to violence and incitement, maintain calm and prevent recurrence of recent events.”

And with that, the leaders dispersed. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright planned to fly to Riyadh to confer with leaders in Saudi Arabia.

Albright told CNN: ”A cease-fire should be happening within hours, immediately,”

And Clinton headed for Air Force One, hurrying home for his next painful mission – attending a memorial service for the 17 sailors killed last Thursday in an apparent terrorist attack on the USS Cole in Yemen.

Even as the diplomats were working for an agreement, fresh violence occurred in the Gaza Strip. Hundreds of Palestinians threw stones and firebombs at an Israeli border crossing, drawing return fire that injured 10 demonstrators.

The Palestinian delegation went from the summit hall directly to the airport and flew back to Gaza. They made no comment to reporters in Egypt.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak raised the prospect of military action if the agreement doesn’t bring an end to the violence.

”The coming days will tell whether we still have a partner,” Barak said. ”Reality has to change in a significant way. The events of the last few weeks left their mark on us … we will examine, as will the Americans, whether it is possible to renew the negotiations.”

Clinton spent the early morning hours shuttling between Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. After talking past midnight, Clinton and the principals caught a few hours of sleep Tuesday before resuming the effort.

Clinton conferred with the summit host, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, then with Arafat for 25 minutes. Clinton then met with Mubarak and Arafat together, and Barak.

CIA director George Tenet joined the talks, concentrating on security measures.

White House spokesman Jake Siewert said there were no eruptions of angry words in any of Clinton’s meetings. ”People have been straightforward, focused on solutions and not finger-pointing,” Siewert said.

Going into the summit, Arafat demanded an Israeli pullback and approval of an international fact-finding mission. Barak insisted on a halt to Palestinian attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians and the re-arrest of extremists from the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements who were released this past week.