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October 16, 2002

Peres meets with Erakat for talks: Palestinian official

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres met with a senior Palestinian delegation headed by chief negotiator Saeb Erakat in Jerusalem.

At the meeting, which took place at an unnamed location in west Jerusalem, Peres and Erekat discussed the humanitarian disaster facing the Palestinian people and the transfer of Palestinian funds frozen by Israel, a senior Palestinian official said on condition of anonymity.

Another Israeli official who was not named was at the meeting, along with the Palestinian economy minister Maher al-Masri.

"The two delegations agreed to hold a big meeting early next week, the official said.

Among the subjects discussed were "an Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian cities which have been reoccupied since September 28 2000, the removal of the closure and the siege and the transfer of money owed to the Palestinian Authority," he said.

The two delegations also spoke about the "humanitarian disaster" facing the Palestinian people and the ongoing settlement activity in the Palestinian territories, he added.

Israeli radio reported that Peres and the right-wing Communications Minister Reuven Rivlin were set to meet with a senior Palestinian delegation led by chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat at some point during the week but the date of the meeting was not specified.