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Diplomats Working for Mideast Peace Face Daunting ChallengesAired October 11, 2000 - 2:05 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: To the Middle East now, a scene of frenzied diplomacy and more fighting. At least 90 people have died in the past two weeks, most of them Palestinians.
From Jerusalem, CNN's Ben Wedeman looks at the efforts to bring calm, if not peace.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sporadic clashes go on, but after almost two weeks of violence, peace-making picks up speed.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's schedule, packed with unscheduled meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak -- then in Gaza with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. More well-intentioned mediators arrive on the scene, including British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and Javier Solano of the European Union.
JAVIER SOLANO, EUROPEAN UNION SECURITY CHIEF: We are trying to see how we can help to scale down the violence; and, therefore, the situation of tension and, therefore, to return to what is a dream of everybody -- to try to negotiate a permanent peace.
WEDEMAN: While diplomacy has taken an edge off the violence, no one knows how long the lull will last.
EHUD BARAK, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I would not take it, at this stage, as a reduction. It might be just a short-term fluctuation.
WEDEMAN: Palestinians insist it is up to the Israelis to stop the fighting.
MARWAN BARGHOUTI, FATAH LEADER: We are not interested to see violent clashes with Israelis in the site. But, unfortunately, the Israelis insist to continue in their killings of the Palestinian people.
WEDEMAN: In Gaza, a young Palestinian boy hit in the head by an Israeli bullet Tuesday lies brain dead in hospital.
Bracing for the worst, settlers in the West Bank town of Hebron fortify the Jewish enclave of Tel Rumeida.
All-in-all, the emissaries have their work cut out for them.
(on camera): Diplomacy is intense, but so is the tension; and there remains plenty of potential on the ground for the violence to veer out of control.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Jerusalem.
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