PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat was to meet Israel’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Shimon Peres, in Switzerland on 30 January, with the aim of breaking the deadlock over Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and Jericho. Referring to his meeting with the PLO chairman, Peres said: ‘I am sure we shall try very seriously and very hard to reach a settlement but there are no guarantees.’

Egyptian, Israeli and PLO officials said that the two sides had reached a compromise on the issue of border crossings on 24 January which would make agreement on the other security issues easier. Egypt’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Amr Moussa, visited Israel the same day to help to consolidate the progress which he said had been made between the two sides.

However, before renewed talks began in Cairo on 25 January, PLO negotiator Nabil Shaath said : ‘We’re trying to solve the problems of the crossings and the Jericho area. These remain problems we are trying to resolve.’ The new talks aim to prepare a paper for approval by Arafat and Peres in Switzerland.