JERICHO : Gore, Arafat to Meet

Vice President Al Gore and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat will discuss Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations Friday in Jericho. Gore will be the most senior U.S. official to visit the Palestinian-ruled area.

For Arafat, the trip will be only his second visit to the ancient oasis since he arrived in the region in July to run the Palestinian Authority that controls the Gaza Strip and Jericho. Arafat established his headquarters in Gaza, and most important Palestinian ministries are located there.

A day earlier, Gore is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres in Israel as Washington continues its hands-on role regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty and the wider issue of Middle East peace.

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