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Switzerland offers help in search for Middle East peace

Swiss foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, met the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, in Davos


The Swiss government has repeated an offer of its good offices in the search for Middle East peace, during a meeting in Davos with the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.

The Swiss foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, told a news conference in Davos on Sunday that he and the Swiss president, Moritz Leuenberger, had offered Swiss assistance during a brief meeting with Arafat.

He also said there appeared to be progress in the Middle East peace process

Deiss said Arafat had given assurances he would do everything possible to reach an agreement with Israel at their ongoing peace talks.

Despite some reports of progress, there is reportedly little hope of an agreement before Israel's elections are held on February 6.

Deiss said he hoped the siituation would become clearer after the elections.

Arafat's main meeting in Davos was with the former Israeli prime minister, Shimon Peres. They have already held several rounds of peace talks in the past few weeks.

The two men took part in a debate entitled "From Peacemaking to Peacebuilding", looking at ways to advance the peace negotiations.



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