WASHINGTON -- Israeli and Arab delegations decided yesterday to resume negotiations on three fronts today, but a procedural dispute stood in the way of progress on Palestinian self-rule.
Diplomatic sources said that the chief Israeli and Jordanian-Palestinian negotiators would meet on the issue at the State Department, while Israel holds separate talks with Syria over the Golan Heights and with Lebanon on their border dispute.
The talks are getting started six days late and are likely to be cut short because Israel's negotiating team plans to fly home Wednesday night.
Chief Israeli negotiator Eliakim Rubinstein and the top Jordanian negotiator arranged by telephone to hold a meeting today, to be joined by senior Palestinian negotiator Haidar Abdul Shafi.
Their task is to find a way around the dispute that blocked negotiations at the last round here, which ended Dec. 18.
It concerns a Palestinian demand to meet separately with Israel on a formula for limited self-rule for the 1.7 million Palestinians who live on the Israeli-held West Bank and in Gaza.
Israel, resisting the Palestinian push for symbolic independence, is promoting a compromise that involves setting up committees with a handful of Jordanians included in them.