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Joint Statement at the Conclusion of the first meeting of the Taba Talks

(October 13, 1993)

The first meeting of the Coordinating Committee was devoted to organizational issues. Since the target date for the signing of an agreement was 13 December, and the withdrawal of the IDF to be completed by 13 April 1994, it was decided to speed up the talks. Two working groups were created as well as a sub-committee on Confidence-Building Measures, dealing mainly with release of Palestinian prisoners and detainees. Text of the joint communique follows:

The Palestinian and Israeli sides held the first meeting of the Gaza Strip and Jericho Area negotiations in a cordial and constructive atmosphere. Both sides expressed their determination to continue in the same atmosphere and to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion. The two sides emphasized the importance of confidence building and the provision of security for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Organizational questions were addressed and resolved. Agreement was reached on a schedule for the negotiations for the coming weeks and on the establishment of two working groups on security matters, and civilian matters including the transfer of authority in the Gaza Strip and Jericho area. The two Heads of Delegation agreed to maintain a direct channel of communication. The issue of the release of Palestinian prisoners will be dealt with as a matter of priority within the context of the ongoing negotiations.

Both sides expressed their thanks and gratitude to the Egyptian Government for its hospitality and support for the negotiations.

Source: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs