Arab states will host four of the five meetings in the next round of multilateral peace talks taking place in April and May. The host countries include two Gulf states, Qatar and Oman. All the dates have now been set, except for the talks on arms control and regional security to be held in Doha (MEED 7:1:94).

Environment talks were to be held in The Hague, in the Netherlands, on 6-7 April. These will be followed by the water resources meeting in Muscat on 18-20 April. Cairo will host the refugees talks on 10-12 May and the regional economic development talks will be held in Rabat on 25-26 May. The venues for the latest talks were agreed in Tokyo at the end of last year, but no dates were set at that time.

The aim of the multilateral talks is to work out a Palestinian reconstruction programme. They were set up in parallel to the bilateral peace talks, which started in Madrid during 1991. Egypt and Tunisia have already hosted multilateral talks. In November last year, Cairo held environment talks and in October Tunisia hosted the refugees working groups.