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Israel slows down pace of contacts with PA

July 14, 2002

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AL QUDS, July 13: Israel slowed down the pace of contacts with the Palestinian Authority (PA) on Saturday, as the army revealed it had intercepted another car bomb in the West Bank believed to be headed for an attack on the Jewish state.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres postponed a planned meeting with a Palestinian delegation, amid what sources close to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said was opposition from the hardline premier.

“The meeting will take place when the necessary preparations have been made to be sure of its success,” Peres’s spokesman, Yoram Dori, said without elaborating on the reasons for the delay to Saturday evening’s scheduled encounter.

But sources close to Sharon said the prime minister had opposed the meeting, arguing that too many talks with the Palestinian Authority risked undermining his efforts to oust Yasser Arafat.

Sharon believes that the contacts should be infrequent and be restricted to humanitarian issues, the sources said.—AFP