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Statement by Prime Minister Barak After Meeting with Chairman Arafat

The Barak-Arafat talks were delayed due to the sudden death of King Hassan of Morocco. The Israeli delegation to the funeral held on 25 July comprised President Weizman, Prime Minister Barak and Foreign Minister Levy. PM Barak had an impromptu meeting with Algeria's President Bouteflika. In the Erez talks, PM Barak told Chairman Arafat that Israel would prefer to postpone the implementation of the FRD (further redeployment) agreed upon at Wye until a final status agreement was close to completion. Barak waited for Arafat's reply. Following are key points made by the Prime Minister following the meeting at Erez:
Implementation of the Wye Memorandum

I reiterated to the Chairman our commitment to the Wye agreement and our intention to implement it fully, in parallel with the Palestinian effort to fulfill their part of the agreement, with emphasis, from our perspective, on the importance of the fight against terrorism.

We raised with the Chairman the idea that the continuation of the permanent status talks needs to be considered, stressing the need to assess wisely how to most appropriately incorporate the implementation of Wye with the discussion of the permanent status.

We intend on implementing Wye in any case. It is an agreement signed by The Governmentof Israel.

The Next Step

We left our suggestions with the Chairman. He will consider them, and we will hear his views within about two weeks.

We concluded that our representatives will meet beginning Thursday 29 July in order to assess all of the outstanding issues concerning the implementation of Wye.

The Framework of the Peace Process

I still think that within 15 months, we will know in which track - Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese - we have a breakthrough. And we will move forward when there is a breakthrough on any and each of these tracks without preference.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs