Tuesday, March 28, 2000

The 1st round of PA-Israeli FAPS talks at Bolling ends. The State Dept. says the teams spent this round "attempting to achieve a better understanding of each other's needs and requirements." No progress was made on narrowing the gaps in their positions. Teams agree to open a 2d round of talks at Bolling on 4/6. (NYT, WP, WT 3/29; AYM, al-Quds 3/29 in WNC 3/30; AYM 4/1 in WNC 4/6)

Barak phones Egypt's Mubarak in Washington to brief him on Israel's views on the 3/26 Clinton-Asad mtg. in Geneva. Egyptian FM Musa phones Syrian FM Shara` to discuss Syria's view of the 3/26 mtg. (MENA 3/28 in WNC 3/29; MEI 4/7)

In Washington for talks on bilateral relations, Pres. Mubarak meets with Pres. Clinton to discuss the peace process. Clinton calls for "intensifying" PA-Israeli negotiations, says that "the ball is in [Asad's] court" regarding movement on the Syrian-Israeli track. (MENA 3/28 in WNC 3/29; MM, NYT, WP, WT 3/29; MENA 3/29 in WNC 3/30; MM 3/30; DUS, MENA 3/30 in WNC 3/31; MM 4/3; MEI 4/7)

Jordan indicts 28 Arabs allegedly linked to Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden on terrorism charges for conspiring to attack U.S., Israeli targets during New Year's celebrations. 15 suspects are in custody; 13 others are at large. Most of the suspects are Jordanian, others are Algerian, Iraqi, Palestinian, Yemeni. (DUS 3/28 in WNC 3/29; NYT, WP 3/29; DUS 3/29 in WNC 3/30; NYT 4/11)

After a 7-mo. investigation, Israeli police recommend that fmr. PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara be indicted on criminal charges of fraud, bribery, theft of 700 state gifts worth $100,000, obstruction of justice. (MM, NYT, WP, WT 3/29)

Bowing to Washington, OPEC agrees to boost oil output. (Iran refuses to sign the agmt. in protest to the U.S. but agrees to comply in effect.) Clinton calls the move "good news . . . for the American consumer," but many OPEC officials complain that the heavy-handed U.S. pressure (especially fr. Energy Secy. Bill Richardson, who hopes to be chosen as VP Al Gore's running mate for the 11/00 U.S. elections) makes their own political and economic situations more awkward. (CSM, NYT, WP 3/29; WP 3/30; MEI 4/7) (see 3/24)