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ARAB-US RELATIONS - June 7 - Albright Sees Sharaa.

A senior State Department official says a meeting between US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Syria's FM Al Sharaa in Cairo produced no breakthrough on the resumption of peace talks with Israel. Al Sharaa told Albright Syria wanted to find a way to re-open negotiations with Israel. But the official says: It is going to take some time before we get a resumption of talks". Al Sharaa said he thought the meeting was positive and helped clear up misunderstandings between the parties. But he remained firm: We are not going to give up our rights. We will continue to claim them in full". Albright calls on Syria to withdraw its 30,000 troops from Lebanon now that Israel has pulled its forces out of the southern region. (No immediate response from Syria is available).

After meetings with Al Sharaa as well as Egyptian Pres. Mubarak, she headed back to Washington. The 3-day trip to the ME included talks with Israeli PM Barak and Palestinian leader Arafat to shore up peace negotiations. Albright's session with Al Sharaa, who was in Egypt for a conference of Arab leaders, is the 1st high-level meeting between the 2 countries since US Pres. Clinton held an unsuccessful summit in Geneva in late March with Pres. Assad. (Talks between Syria and Israel stalled in January over the future of the Golan Heights, which Israel occupied in 1967. Assad told Clinton that Israel must give up the strategic border high ground all the way to the Sea of Galilee. Israel is demanding that it keep land on the shores of Galilee, also known as Lake Tiberias. The lake supplies Israel with 42% of its water). On June 6, Al Sharaa said in a TV interview: To give Israel something that is ours or our right would not be reassurance but a free and unwarranted concession". While in Egypt, Albright met with Mubarak. She said Clinton wants to use the remaining months of his term to promote ME accords. She said: There is no higher foreign policy priority for Mr. Clinton. We are not having a summer vacation. We are working very hard". The US peace effort was endorsed by Egyptian FM Mussa, who said: We are sure that under the leadership of Pres. Clinton and Secretary of State Albright, things will move in the right direction". Albright did achieve one objective on her trip. Barak and Arafat agreed to send senior negotiators to Washington early next week for a resumption of talks after a 2-month lapse. According to a senior US official, Clinton is hoping to call a 3-party, Camp David-style summit this summer in Washington.
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:7SYRI
Date:Jun 10, 2000
Words:440
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