Monday, May 19, 1997

PM Netanyahu's personal atty. Yitzhak Molho (acting as the PM's special envoy), PA Local Government M Erakat meet in an attempt to create momentum for higher level mtg. No progress is made. (QY 5/20 in WNC 5/21)

In Doha, Syrian FM Faruq al-Shara` asks Qatari emir Shaykh Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani to suspend, or at least not invite Israel to, the Middle East and North Africa economic summit scheduled to open in Doha 11/16. The emir refuses but says it supports Syria's negotiating position. Shara` then leaves for Saudi Arabia to joint VP `Abd al-Halim Khaddam for similar talks with King Fahd. (MM 5/19, 5/21; al-Nahar 5/21 in WNC 5/23; al-Watan al-Arabi 5/30 in WNC 6/9)

Following rumors that the PM, FM are dissatisfied with his performance, Israeli amb. to the U.S. Ben-Elissar returns to Israel to meet with PM Netanyahu, FM Levy to "clarify his situation." (ITV 5/19 in WNC 5/22)

For the 1st time since 1981, when the border btwn. Syria and Iraq was closed, a private-sector delegation representing Syrian trade unions travels to Iraq to establish trade links. (RMC 5/19 in WNC 5/22; MM 5/20; SA 5/20 in WNC 5/21; MM 5/21, 5/22; RMC 5/22 in WNC 5/23; NYT 5/25; MM 5/28; SA 5/30 in WNC 6/2)

The pro-Iraqi Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) joins forces with the Turkish military; attacks rival PKK offices in Irbil, killing 58 PKK mbrs., losing 53 men. (NYT 5/20) (see 5/17)

Lebanon's Constitutional Council voids the election of 4 parliamentary deputies, including a government minister; orders new elections for their seats; rejects the 15 other appeals submitted by defeated candidates after last summer's elections. (WP 5/20; RL 5/20 in WNC 5/21) (see 8/18/96)

To protests Israel's naval blockade of s. Lebanon, Amal attempts a suicide attack against an Israeli patrol boat off the Lebanese coast, blowing up its own boat but causing no Israeli injuries. (AFP 5/19 in WNC 5/22)