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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                     May, 25, 1995, V3, #97
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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San Marino has decided to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel. San Marino's ambassador in Rome announced the decision in a meeting with Israel's ambassador to Italy Avi Pazner. San Marino, a small state located within Italy, has a total population of 23,000 and covers an area of 38 square miles.

Progress Reported in Syrian Talks

By Ron Pemstein (State Department)

Israel and Syria have agreed to talks between their senior military experts on the security arrangements to possible help Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights. Syria has given its agreement to a group of understandings on security talks with Israel. Secretary of State Warren Christopher says senior military experts from the two sides will meet in Washington, D.C. At the end of June to negotiate the details of those understandings on security arrangements.

Christopher is now making plans to travel to the Middle East next month in preparation for those security talks. A senior State Department official says the agreement on the framework is the first direct agreement between Israel and Syria since the 1991 Madrid conference.

State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns read the secretary of state's assessment. "This is an important development but there are still significant gaps between the parties and there is much hard work to be done on the security arrangements and on all the non-security issues."

The spokesman says two telephone calls between Christopher and Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara in the last 24 hours led to the agreement to hold Israeli-Syrian military talks under American auspices.

Hamas Military Cache Confiscated

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

Palestinian police have raided a storage facility used by the militant group Hamas, which has launched a series of attacks against Israelis in recent months. The police of Yasir Arafat's Palestinian Autonomy Authority conducted the raid in the Gaza Strip overnight and confiscated weapons, military uniforms, and documents that officials said terrorists could use to cross into Israel. The police were acting on a tip.
The Palestinian Authority had ordered all unlicensed weapons to be surrendered to the police by May 1. Senior police officers said they would not carry out random raids or searches, but would prosecute anyone found with an illegal weapon and would investigate any indication of major illegal weapons storage facilities.

This raid is the latest in a series of steps the Palestinian Authority has taken to crack down on Hamas and other violent groups which oppose the peace accord with Israel. The authority has also arrested and prosecuted Hamas leaders, and has closed the organization's newspaper. Israel has made such a crackdown a precondition for expanding the autonomous palestinian area.

The recent moves by the Autonomy Authority come as talks on the terms of expanding autonomy are reaching a critical stage, with the deadline for concluding them just five and a half weeks away.

Senior Egyptian Official Visits Israel

A top advisor to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak travelled to Israel Tuesday for a short visit aimed at improving ties between the two countries. The official, Osama el-Baz, held meetings in Jerusalem with both Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.

El-Baz reportedly brought a message from Mubarak that Egypt wants to improve the atmosphere of relations with Israel following the Cabinet's recent decision to suspend land expropriations in Jerusalem.

Mubarak is apparently seeking to reduce tensions that developed over the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the expropriation issue.

During his meetings, el-Baz spoke of Egypt's desire to improve relations and cooperation with Israel.

Sources in Jerusalem expressed great satisfaction over el-Baz's visit and praised Egypt's decision to open a new chapter in relations with Israel.

Israel/Palestinians Move Closer to Establishing Industrial Parks

Finance Ministry Director General David Brodet and his counterpart in the Palestinian Authority, Samir Khouleila, met Tuesday and completed a draft paper on establishing industrial parks between Israel and the Palestinian self-rule areas.

The draft sets out how the parks will be built, as well as addresses labor and security issues. Brodet told reporters that U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk told him that the U.S. would grant preferential trade status to the industrial parks.

Top Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators are in Europe to work out plans for international observers to monitor Palestinian elections in the territories.

Foreign Ministry Legal Advisor Joel Singer and Palestinian Authority Member Saeb Erekat discussed the issue in Brussels with senior European Union representatives.

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