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CNN Today

Middle East Peace Summit: Negotiators Debate Fate of Jerusalem

Aired July 14, 2000 - 2:34 p.m. ET

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

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: A fourth day of Middle East peace talks is under way at Camp David. Palestinian, Israeli and U.S. negotiators are abiding by a self-imposed vow of silence. That said, let's see what senior White House correspondent John King has for us about the talks near Camp David -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, we are beginning to get a better sense not only of the issue being discussed but of the general atmospherics of these negotiations being held, as you said, in seclusion at the Camp David presidential retreat.

We know from U.S. officials, on the president's agenda for this afternoon another round of meetings with Prime Minister Ehud Barak and the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Those are separate meetings. The leaders not expected to meet with the president together.

Also, we know from Israeli sources telling CNN that for the first time there appear to be concrete proposals on the table about the fate of Jerusalem. The Palestinians want a slice of Jerusalem for the capital of the eventual Palestinian state that everyone expects would have to emerge if there is to be a peace agreement. We're told there are some concrete proposals being discussed, again, in seclusion at Camp David.

White House officials adhering to that blackout. They say they don't want to discuss the specific back-and-forth going on in the negotiations, but they confirm that there are working groups meeting, discussing the core issues. Jewish settlements another big dispute, the fate of Palestinian refugees very important to the Palestinian side.

Speaking to reporters earlier today, White House spokesman Joe Lockhart saying that as these discussion go on things turning quite difficult.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE LOCKHART, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I would certainly continue to describe it as informal because of the setting, you know, the -- it is a beautiful place that people -- that you can't describe any other way beside that, and informal. But these are intractable issues. These are issues that go to the vital interests of both of the parties. So this is very serious. You know, at times discussions are tense, but that should be no surprise to anyone. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Now Secretary of State Madeleine Albright left Camp David today, her goal to meet with the Palestinian delegation. Palestinian opposition figures they wanted to come inside Camp David, they wanted to see their leader, Mr. Arafat. Many of them question whether he is making too many concessions in these peace talks.

Secretary Albright met with them, told them, according to sources, that they should view the United States as a friend and an honest broker and that they should support Mr. Arafat as he pushes for peace in these negotiations.

After that session, however, many of those Palestinian leaders complaining that in their view Mr. Arafat is being, quote, "held hostage," that the U.S. officials will not let him out to meet with them. They want to have their say on the talks. That an indication that both of the leaders here, Mr. Arafat and Mr. Barak, have a very delicate domestic situation back home. And if -- and it remains a big if -- if they are to come out of these talks with an agreement, they will have a very tough job going home and trying to sell it -- Natalie.

ALLEN: John King at Camp David -- thanks, John.

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