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Arafat Says Talks At Delicate Stage

Sun., Feb. 19, 1995, midnight

Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations are at a “dangerous and delicate” stage, Yasser Arafat said Saturday as he began three days of high-level talks in Paris.

Arafat and Israel’s chief negotiator, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, both addressed the opening session of a three-day Middle East symposium at UNESCO.

They later held a private one-hour meeting prior to Peres’ scheduled return to Israel on Sunday, with Peres confirming the gradual reopening of the border between the occupied territories and Israel beginning Sunday. But little other progress was reported.

In his speech, Arafat reaffirmed the Palestinians’ “irrevocable strategic choice” of peace rather than conflict.

“But the peace process today is in a dangerous and delicate phase,” he said, warning that delays in extending Palestinian autonomy on the West Bank “could have fatal consequences and create a dangerous situation for the entire peace process.”

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