Clinton to Meet with Arafat and Barak.
By Deborah Tate (VOA-White House)
President Clinton meets separately Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat on the sidelines of the United Nations Millennium Summit in New York.
With one week to go before the parties' self-declared deadline for a final peace agreement, U.S. officials say it is crucial that progress be made in the stalled peace process this week.
National Security Advisor Sandy Berger would not characterize this as a "make-or-break week" in the peace process, but he underscored the importance of making progress.
"Unless we see a decisive way forward from this week, I think it becomes increasingly difficult to imagine in the time frame I see as realistic -- particularly in terms of what is happening in Israel. This gets more difficult."
U.S. officials have played down the importance of the parties meeting their Sept. 13 deadline for a final settlement. But they hope for an agreement before the Israeli Knesset reconvenes at the end of October. Israeli lawmakers, unhappy about the concessions Barak has made to the Palestinians, have threatened to topple his government.
The talks broke down at the Camp David summit in July over the issue of the future of Jerusalem, which both sides claim as their capital.