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|Thursday, July 06, 2000, updated at 13:50(GMT+8)|
Israeli Government Outlines Policy On Three-way SummitIsraeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has accepted U.S. President Bill Clinton's invitation to attend the three-way summit slated for next Tuesday in Camp David, said the Prime Minister's Office in a short statement on Wednesday.
The Israeli delegation headed by Barak will discuss and resolve the final-status issues with the Palestinian side at the summit in a spirit of good-will and with a sense of responsibility so that the two sides can reach a peace agreement on all issues in the final-status talks, the statement said.
But, the Israeli delegation will only sign a peace agreement that strengthens Israeli national interests and security, the statement added.
Clinton announced earlier on Wednesday the holding of the three-way summit between himself, Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, which is aimed at reaching a framework agreement on the final-status issues such as Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, border, water ahead of the September 13 target for a final peace.
The announcement has sparked mixed reactions among Barak's coalition partners and political parties in Israel.
Interior Minister Natan Sharansky of Yisrael Ba'aliya, Barak's coalition partner with four members of the Knesset (parliament), announced his party has decided to withdraw from the coalition and he will submit the withdrawal letter to Barak during next Sunday's cabinet meeting.
Sharansky blamed Barak for keeping the coalition party leaders in the dark about the ongoing Israeli-palestinian final-status talks. He also accused Barak of making too much concessions to the Palestinians regarding territorial transfer.
The largest coalition partner Shas called on Barak to finalize with his coalition the "red lines" not to be crossed in the negotiations with the Palestinians, but Shas Party leader Eli Yishai will not be joining the delegation to the summit.
The National Religious Party said the party will leave the coalition if Barak goes to the summit.
The opposition party Likud has prepared a non-confidence motion in Barak in the Knesset to express its strong opposition to the summit.
But Meretz party leader Yossi Sarid said the summit will be "the last chance for peace with the Palestinians...and that chance must be used."
Sarid added the party "trusts Barak to arrive at the best agreement possible and will support any agreement signed."
Barak said on Wednesday he will attend a three-way summit to try to work out a peace agreement with the Palestinians ahead of a September target for a final peace.
Speaking at the Israeli Embassy in Paris, Barak told reporters that "this is undoubtedly an important moment in the history of the attempt to solve the conflict between us and the Palestinians," reported Israeli Radio.
"I will take my place at the head of our delegation to Camp David next week with a heavy feeling of responsibility," he said.
Meanwhile, Arafat will also attend the summit, a senior palestinian official said on Wednesday.
"We committed to (U.S. Secretary of State) Madeleine Albright when she came here that when President Clinton invites us to a summit we would accept, and we accepted," Palestinian Minister of International Cooperation Nabil Shaath said.
Barak was in Paris to hold talks with French President Jacques Chirac on the Middle East peace process after visiting British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London earlier in the day.
Barak was due to return home later on Wednesday.
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