WORLD : Egypt, Israel Agree to Baker's Plan for West Bank, Gaza Talks

From Times Wire Services

Egypt and Israel have agreed in principle to Secretary of State James A. Baker III's plan for talks on the future of the Israeli-occupied territories and the United States will host a three-way Middle East conference early next year, the State Department announced today.

Spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler said Baker received a "positive response" from Egyptian Foreign Minister Ismet Abdel-Meguid to Baker's five-point proposal for a framework for talks dealing with the future of Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Last month, Israel sent a similarly worded reply but with certain "assumptions" or reservations. Egypt, which is representing the Palestine Liberation Organization in the preliminary negotiations, also added "certain views," Tutwiler said.

The positive response from both sides prepare the groundwork for a Washington conference with the United States, Egypt and Israel, probably in January, if various scheduling difficulties can be worked out.

The conference would deal with setting up the machinery to set up elections for the Palestinian Arabs who will choose their representatives to a conference with Israel to determine the future of the occupied territories.

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