Israeli and PLO negotiators said yesterday that they were close to an agreement clearing the way for an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and Jericho.
But Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, in talks held in Davos, Switzerland, dampened earlier hopes that an accord could be completed during the day.
One of the key sticking points appeared to be control of border crossings that Egypt and Jordan share with the proposed autonomous Palestinian regions. Israel demands it maintain security on the borders, but the PLO has said the presence of Israeli soldiers would violate guarantees of autonomy. Another key topic at the talks has been how much area around the West Bank town of Jericho would be ceded to the Palestinians. A senior member of the PLO said that negotiators had reached a compromise on the final terms for an Israeli withdrawal, but that the Israeli government had yet to accept it.
Mr. Peres said there never was any intention for the two sides to sign an agreement in Davos. The negotiators refused to disclose details of their compromise, but Israel Radio reported that the compromise was sent to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for approval and that it concerned three corridors to be under Palestinian control leading to locations in Israeli-occupied areas.