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|Wednesday, August 22, 2001, updated at 09:32(GMT+8)|
Arafat Is Ready to Hold Truce Talks in BerlinAmid frantic diplomatic efforts to bring an end to nearly 11 months of violence in the Middle East, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat Aug.21 said he was ready to meet Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres in Berlin.
Speaking at a news conference after meeting with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer in the West Bank city of Ramallah today, Arafat acknowledged Germany's recent efforts to establish cease-fire talks between the two sides.
"I welcome your [Fischer's] good ideas and I welcome meeting ... Shimon Peres in your office in Berlin," Arafat said.
Reacting to Arafat's call during an official visit to East Europe today, Peres said he would discuss details of a possible meeting when he returned home. However Israeli radio Aug.21 reported the meeting would take place early next week.
The latest moves to hold truce talks came amid a flurry of diplomatic activity by Fischer this week.
Hours after holding talks with Arafat, the German foreign minister met with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Aug.21, in an attempt to bring an end to the current stalemate.
Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Fischer, Sharon said he had asked the Fischer to help bring an end to the violence. He made no reference to a likely Peres-Arafat meeting.
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