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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Arafat Meets With British, Americans Negotiators

Aired May 1, 2002 - 08:10   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And we've got breaking news out of Ramallah, of course, Yasser Arafat's compound, on the heels of a meeting just breaking up between British and American envoys, Yasser Arafat and his team.

Let's check in with Matthew Chance to get any info on what might have been addressed at that meeting -- good morning, Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Paula, and that's right, we can confirm that. The meeting between Palestinian officials and security experts from Britain and the United States has come to an end inside Yasser Arafat's battered presidential compound here in Ramallah some distance behind me here.

It's a shame we couldn't get to this live shot a few moments earlier, because earlier, of course, we were surrounded here by heavy Israeli armor, armed personnel carriers, tanks lining the road here when, as the vehicles, first three gray Suburbans, which we're assuming were the vehicles of the U.S. delegation, followed by dark colored Range Rovers, which we're assuming, again, were the vehicles of the British delegation.

We've had confirmed by Palestinian officials that, indeed, those were the scenes of the delegation moving out of the compound after having talks inside. And it's been confirmed to us, too, that they're now talking about a time frame of two hours before the six wanted Palestinians, wanted by Israel, are transferred under international guard to the Palestinian prison facility in the West Bank town of Jericho, where they'll be monitored and their continued imprisonment will be verified by that international guard, as, according to the U.S. initiative to bring to an end this siege -- Paula.

ZAHN: And when is it believed that Yasser Arafat will leave the compound, Matthew?

CHANCE: Well, it's still difficult to predict to the hour when that will happen, Paula. What we can tell you is that once the Palestinian prisoners have been transferred into international custody and moved to that prison facility in Jericho, only then will the Israeli Army, they say, begin to pull out of their positions around Yasser Arafat's compound and, of course, it's the Israeli Army's presence that's preventing Yasser Arafat from coming out into the relative freedom of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It may take some hours, according to Israeli military spokesmen, before they actually pull out after the transfer of the prisoners. But we'll obviously be waiting here to see that situation. There's a lot of anticipation here in Ramallah about what Yasser Arafat will do next. Certainly we'll be monitoring it from our vantage point here on the outskirts of the compound -- Paula.

ZAHN: And we will come to you live when any of that happens.

Matthew Chance, thanks for the update.

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