A senior Palestinian negotiator said on Thursday that talks between Palestinians and Israelis were focusing on a four-point document that could lead to a final settlement of their decades-long conflict.
Nabil Shaath, also a cabinet minister, was presenting details of recent meetings between Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian parliament speaker Ahmed Korei.
"The aim is to find a political way out of the current crisis and not focus on security matters as (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon always stressed," Shaath said.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's spokesman Raanan Gissin called them "ideas" and not a peace plan.
"It's wrong to talk about a peace plan here. It's the contact with Abu Ala (Korei) to see if there is a possibility to
reach a ceasefire," he told Reuters.
Israel has said that it would not negotiate under fire.
Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo initially dismissed the idea as forcing them to live in cantons. But the Palestinian Authority, which considers the four talking points an agenda for a final deal, said it would pursue the talks.
Peres said this week that relations between the two sides were no longer at rock bottom.
"I think that chances for peace had reached the lowest point, the zero point, in relations between the Palestinian authorities and Israel," Peres said during a visit to Ukraine.
"But I think we have departed from zero point and begun to move," said Peres, a lonesome dove in Sharon's ruling coalition.
(China Daily December 28, 2001)