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Israel Signals Intent to Begin Implementing Peace Pact

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From Times Wire Services

Israel aims to begin implementation of outstanding pledges under the Wye Plantation land-for-security peace accord with the Palestinians on Oct. 1, a spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday.

The spokesman, David Ziso, said the target date was set to begin carrying out initial parts of the U.S.-brokered interim accord, and had no bearing on Barak’s request for the Palestinians to agree to delay the final stages of the Wye deal.

But a senior Palestinian official said working-level talks with Israeli negotiators on ways to implement the accord broke down Sunday with no agreements.

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The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the talks between Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and his Israeli counterpart, Gilead Sher, ended in “real crisis.”

Erekat left late Sunday to consult on the brewing breakdown with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat in Cairo, the official said.

A statement from Barak’s office hinted that the peace process might be encountering its first crisis since he took office.

“The office of the prime minister feels that while Israel seeks real progress, the Palestinians respond without flexibility, probably because of internal considerations,” a statement from Barak’s office said.

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