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CNN Today

Israelis; Palestinians Attempting to Narrow Differences Over Jerusalem

Aired December 21, 2000 - 4:41 p.m. ET

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

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Five months after the failure of the Camp David Summit, President Clinton is pressing to draw Israeli and Palestinian negotiators closer on the sensitive issue of Jerusalem's future.

CNN State Department correspondent Andrea Koppel is covering the third day of talks. She joins us now with more -- Andrea.

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Joie, you'll remember that the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians over the future of Jerusalem was at heart of last summer's collapse of the Camp David talks. Today, Israeli and Palestinian officials confirmed to CNN that they're in the midst of narrowing differences over Jerusalem.

That issue included in a proposal for a peace plan presented Wednesday, yesterday, at the White House by President Clinton to both delegations. They include all of the most contentious issues, and in fact, today Israel's foreign minister, who is included in the delegation out at Bolling Air Force Base, said on Israel's army radio, quote: "We're at a very, very sensitive point. This is the first time there is the feeling that they, the Palestinians, really want to get a deal. We want to see if that's possible."

Now the Palestinian's chief representative to Washington said, however, quote: "We have always wanted a deal. A deal depends on Israel."

The U.S., in the meanwhile, continuing to try to be helpful. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright heading out there this evening to take the pulse of things and tomorrow, Joie, there is the likelihood that there could be yet another meeting at the White House with President Clinton.

Reporting live, I'm Andrea Koppel, CNN, at the State Department.

CHEN: All right, Andrea Koppel.

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