Gulf threat eclipses peace talks

21 October 1994

The Middle East peace talks were overshadowed by events in the Gulf. US Secretary of State Warren Christopher cut short a Middle East peace shuttle for talks in Kuwait on 12 October about the build up of Iraqi troops near the Kuwaiti border. His latest trip to the region was originally aimed at breaking the deadlock in the Syria-Israel track of the peace process.

The PLO-Israel negotiations have also made little progress. Talks restarted on 9 October, but were suspended on 11 October after the Islamist group Hamas announced they had abducted an Israeli soldier and threatened to kill him if Israel did not release two Islamist leaders, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin and Sheikh Abdel Karim Obeid, as well as a further 200 Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin issued a statement saying PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat would be held responsible for finding and returning the abducted soldier. The Israeli authorities said on 12 October that they were also investigating the disappearance of a second Israeli soldier.

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