Palestinian groups fail to reach truce agreement

08 December 2003
Negotiators from the main Palestinian militantgroups operating in the Occupied Territories on 7 December failed to reach a ceasefire agreement during peace talks hosted by the Egyptian government. 'The meeting ended without agreement on the major issues,' said Husam Arafat, a negotiator from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command. 'The factions will issue a press statement in which they will say they will pursue the dialogue in the future - It is a cover for failure.'

The director of Egypt's intelligence services, Omar Suleiman, on 5 December started the peace talks between the Palestinian militant groups, with the aim of calling a ceasefire with Israel. The groups discussed the possibility of implementing one of two ceasefire plans. The first aims to bring an end to all militant operations in Israel, but not against Israeli targets in the Occupied Territories. The second plan calls for a full ceasefire in exchange for Israeli concessions. Israeli officials have indicated that they would scale down military activities in the Occupied Territories if the Palestinian groups agree on a ceasefire proposal.

Speaking on the failed peace talks, Israeli deputy Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, said that Israel was not expecting any changes in Palestinian policy in the near future. 'In fact we see the opposite, and we just stopped a few suicide attacks from being carried out in the last few days,' he said. 'They have to stop terrorist actions unilaterally and without any reservations... If they stop, this will be a basis for further discussion about implementing the roadmap.' (MEED 5:12:03)

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