Two Gulf states will host working groups forming part of the multilateral talks that will take place in the next few weeks. Oman and Qatar, alongside Egypt and Morocco, have agreed to host the talks, which will involve receiving Israeli delegations. The decision was announced after a meeting of the steering group to the multilateral talks in Tokyo on 15-16 December. The steering group’s next meeting will take place in Tunis early in 1994.

The five working groups have been negotiating in parallel with the bilateral talks since 1991 with the aim of working out a Palestinian reconstruction programme. Qatar will host the arms control and regional security group, Oman will host the water resources group, the refugee working group will meet in Egypt, and Morocco will hold the meeting for the regional economic development group. The dates for the meetings have yet to be announced.

Two working group meetings have been held in Arab states during the multilateral talks so far. In November, Cairo held the environment talks, and Tunisia hosted the refugees working group in October. The other meetings have been in major international cities outside the Middle East (MEED 23:7:93, Cover Story).