ad info




CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
 SPACE
 HEALTH
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 ARTS & STYLE
 NATURE
 IN-DEPTH
 ANALYSIS
 myCNN

 Headline News brief
 news quiz
 daily almanac

  MULTIMEDIA:
 video
 video archive
 audio
 multimedia showcase
 more services

  E-MAIL:
Subscribe to one of our news e-mail lists.
Enter your address:
Or:
Get a free e-mail account

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 AsiaNow
 En Español
 Em Português
 Svenska
 Norge
 Danmark
 Italian

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 TIME INC. SITES:
 CNN NETWORKS:
Networks image
 more networks
 transcripts

 SITE INFO:
 help
 contents
 search
 ad info
 jobs

 WEB SERVICES:

  Transcripts

Special Event

Millennium 2000: Israel, Syria Expected to Begin Second Round of High-Level Peace Talks Today

Aired January 3, 2000 - 10:05 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JIM CLANCY, CNN ANCHOR: A second round of high-level peace talks between Israel and Syria is expected to get under way about two-and-a- half hours from now.

CNN's Walter Rodgers is covering the land-for-peace talks in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. He joins us now with this update -- Walter.

WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Jim.

The Syrian-Israeli peace talks could be President Clinton's last hurrah in foreign policy. True, Mr. Clinton still wants and Israeli- Palestinian peace agreement, but that could be much more difficult and much less doable than a Syrian-Israeli peace agreement.

So Mr. Clinton called Prime Minister Barak of Israel and Syria's foreign minister, Forouk al-Sharaa, to this remote West Virginia town for a second round of peace talks.

Prime Minister Barak arrived last night -- Sunday night -- in the United States, flying into Andrews Air Force Base just outside Washington, D.C. Mr. Barak has placed peace with Syria at the top of his agenda. Mr. Barak, a former army chief of staff, likes difficult challenges.

Besides the external difficulties of negotiating an end to 50 years of hot and cold wars, Mr. Barak faces surprisingly difficult opposition at home from Israelis who simply do not wish to return to Syria the land that the Israeli Army took from Damascus in the 1967 war. If Mr. Barak were to lose a public referendum on that, he could also lose office.

The Syrian delegation is keeping a low profile here, scrupulously observing the gag rule, no one discussion the peace negotiations publicly. But the Syrians have served notice that they are here to test Israel's seriousness, and they are looking for more than just a positive atmosphere.

There have been early reports that a peace agreement between Israel and Syria are about 80 percent complete, but there is a warning, a caveat here, and that is the rule of thumb that in all Middle East peace negotiations, nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to, and there's still at least 20 percent of this deal to be negotiated -- Jim.

CLANCY: Why Shepherdstown? There are other venues, such as the presidential retreat at Camp David. Why this one?

RODGERS: Easy question, Jim. First place, it is remote and that lends itself to more productive talks. News leaks would obviously put pressure on the negotiators, certainly on the domestic front in Israel, and perhaps even Damascus.

Another reason -- you mentioned Camp David -- the Syrians are very sensitive to location. They wanted the United States because they need, they believe, American pressure to make sure that the Israelis live up to an agreement. But Camp David, the presidential retreat in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland, is a very sore point with the Syrians. They believe that when President Sadat negotiated an agreement with the Israelis, then Prime Minister Menachem Begin under President Jimmy Carter, that, in point of fact, the Arab world sold out to the Israelis in that. So the Syrians would never have gone back to Camp David because they very much oppose the Camp David Agreement in 1978 -- Jim.

CLANCY: CNN's Walter Rodgers reporting to us there live from Shepherdstown.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

  ArrowCLICK HERE FOR TODAY'S TOPICS AND GUESTS
ArrowCLICK HERE FOR CNN PROGRAM SCHEDULES
SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.