Diplomats meet Israelis, Palestinians over Rafah

November 14, 2006 19:08


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US and European diplomats on Tuesday convened the first session of a security working group with Israelis and Palestinians meant to assure regular opening of the only land link between Gaza and the Arab world, a Western participant said. The participant, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters, said no significant progress was made at Tuesday's talks, but they were significant as a step toward solving the problems. He said another session of the security working group was set for six weeks from now, and in the meantime, committees would meet to consider the specific issues. The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt has been closed often, especially since the abduction of IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit by Hamas-linked operatives at the end of June near the crossing. Also, Israel complains that Palestinians have used Israel's exit from the Gaza-Egypt border a year ago to smuggle large amounts of weapons into Gaza.

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