The stage is set for this weekend's Formentor Euro-Mediterranean summit with the Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres confirming yesterday that he is likely to meet Palestinian President Yasser Arafat this weekend as Peres's office confirmed he was drafting a new peace plan. Arafat and Peres are to attend the third annual Formentor conference on Middle East economies in Majorca scheduled for November 2 and 3 and Palestinian officials have said such a meeting was in the works. “We shall probably meet, but we are not going to negotiate because I think that negotiations should be prepared very carefully otherwise it will create a disappointment instead of a hope,” Peres told reporters in Jerusalem. The two architects of interim Israeli-Palestinian peace deals last met on September 26 in Gaza to reaffirm a U.S.-backed truce-to-talks plan which has yet to take hold. Peres aide Yoram Dori, responding to an Israeli newspaper report, said the foreign minister was working on a peace initiative that was still in the initial planning stages. The Maariv newspaper carried what it said were details of Peres's draft proposals, including establishing a Palestinian state and an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, where Jewish settlements would be dismantled “as a goodwill gesture”.

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