Deepening a sense of crisis in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Palestinian negotiators unexpectedly walked out of talks in Jerusalem on Monday night.
The walkout came hours after U.S. mediator Dennis Ross had announced that he was returning to Washington. Israelis and Palestinians blamed each other for an impasse after two weeks of talks.
It is not clear when the Palestinians, who said they had left to consult with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, intend to return to the negotiating table. A U.S. official said the talks would resume but didn’t say when.
Moshe Fogel, a spokesman for Israel’s government, told The Associated Press that “in principle,” the negotiations would continue today. He said the Palestinians seemed angry, “but we believe these are delaying tactics.”
A separate committee working on civilian aspects of the new Hebron arrangement still was meeting.
The latest round of talks began in response to a plea from President Clinton following a week of violence in which Palestinian police and Israeli soldiers opened fire on one another, killing 79 people. At a summit in Washington, Clinton persuaded the two sides to negotiate until they reach agreement.