Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir moved yesterday to brake the growing momentum for early Israeli elections, which would likely stall Middle East peace moves.
In an unusual move, his chief of staff, Yossi Ahimeir, went up to reporters outside the weekly Cabinet meeting to insist Mr. Shamir wanted elections in November as scheduled.
"The prime minister has heard all the talk of advancing elections. He is against early elections. He believes the government must last its full four years and will do everything to ensure the continuation of the government," Mr. Ahimeir said.
Far-right Cabinet members have threatened to quit the government once peace negotiators begin discussing autonomy for the 1.75 million Palestinians in Israeli-occupied lands.
The talks, bogged down in procedural disputes since starting in October, are due to resume today in Washington.