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Sharon says Palestinians made progress but still a long way to go
( 2001-12-28 15:33 ) (7 )

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Thursday Palestinian attacks against Israel have lessened since Yasser Arafat called for calm in the region, but stressed there is still a long way before negotiations start.

"Even though we are seeing a drop in terror attacks, the Palestinian Authority still has a long way to go," Israeli radio reported Sharon as saying.

"There will be no diplomatic negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority until the terror ends completely," he said, adding that he would lead negotiations with the Palestinians "personally."

The statement follows an agreement, reported by a Palestinian officials, between Palestinian parliament speaker Ahmed Qorei and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres on the basis of future peace talks.

A document setting out the agreement covers four points, including Israeli recognition of a Palestinian state, and is similar to that published on December 23 by the Israeli daily, Yediot Aharonot.

However, Sharon said anything brought before the Palestinians should first be discussed in the cabinet and that any eventual agreement between the two men would carry no weight until approved by the cabinet.



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