Wednesday, December 8, 1999

Secy. Albright briefs PM Barak on her mtg. with Syrian pres. Asad, then meets with Arafat in Ramallah. She presents both Barak and Arafat with a rough time line for concluding a FAPS. (MM 12/8; NYT 12/9; AYM 12/9 in WNC 12/14; MM 12/13; MEI 12/24)

Hrs. later in Washington, Pres. Clinton announces that Israel, Syria have agreed to resume negotiations. PM Barak, Syrian FM Faruq al-Shara` will hold an initial mtg. next wk. in Washington, to be followed immediately by intensive negotiations at an as yet undermined location. (MM 12/8; MM, NYT, WP, WT 12/9; AFP, DUS, Interfax, MENA, RL, SA, XIN 12/9 in WNC 12/10; CSM, MM, NYT, WP, WT 12/10; WP 12/13)

Pres. Clinton, PM Barak both phone Arafat to assure him that the resumption of the Syrian-Israeli track will not affect progress on the PA-Israeli track. (WP 12/9; AYM 12/9, 12/11 in WNC 12/14; MM 12/13)

Syrian pres. Asad phones Lebanese pres. Emile Lahoud, PM Huss to coordinate positions in advance of Syrian-Israeli talks. They agree that neither Syria nor Lebanon will make a separate peace with Israel. (NYT 12/9; RL 12/9 in WNC 12/10; NYT 12/10)

In light of the announcement on the Syrian-Israeli talks, Russia calls for multilateral talks, which began in 1992 but stalled in 1996, to resume as soon as possible; offers to host a steering comm. mtg. (Interfax 12/9 in WNC 12/10)

In Amman, 100s of Jordanian university students hold a rally to protest the government decision to deport 4 Hamas leaders on 11/21. (SA 12/9 in WNC 12/10)

In Beirut, a group calling itself the World Islamic Front urges attacks on Russian embs. worldwide to protest Russia's war in the breakaway Muslim republic of Chechnya. (SA 12/9 in WNC 12/10)