Albright Schedules Mideast Talks
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will open a new phase in Mideast peacemaking Monday with Israel and the Palestinian Authority after receiving assurances from leaders on both sides that they were committed to serious negotiations.
The talks, to be held in the Washington area over several days, are designed to get Israel to yield more territory on the West Bank to Yasser Arafat and to open discussions about a Palestinian state and the future of Jerusalem.
``We are ready to put our shoulder to the wheel,″ State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said Thursday in announcing Albright’s plan.
The three-way talks were delayed about a week while the Israeli government debated the positions Foreign Minister David Levy would take in the negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas, a senior deputy to Yasser Arafat.
On Wednesday, the Israeli Cabinet authorized Levy to fly to Washington on Sunday for the talks, while Albright telephoned both Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take stock of the situation.
She found them ready for serious negotiations, Rubin said.
He made no predictions of the outcome, saying only that the talks would be held over several days.