"Let me say that General Zinni is exerting every possible effort. At this stage, he is pursuing bilateral Israeli-American talks with bilateral Palestinian-Israeli talks. Our understanding is that he wants to proceed with to tracks - two parallel tracks, one political, one security. Because here we have to have the linkage between Tenet and Mitchell on the political horizon - meaning ending Israeli occupation. We need during the implementation of Tenet and Mitchell to have a time-line, mechanisms with monitors on the ground. It's premature to jump to conclusions at this stage. We are having in-depth talks with General Zinni. He is exerting maximum efforts with both sides and we hope that above anything else, the Israeli army will complete the withdrawal from all areas re-occupied - especially in area 'S'."
"We don't want to harass, clearly not to end, the existence and the functions of the Palestinian Authority and its elected chairman. And we are taking the whole opportunity as seriously and profoundly as we may."
Ramallah, West Bank - 16 Mar 2002
18. Arafat walking through the streets of al-Amari refugee camp
19. Various of Arafat comforting grieving relatives
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office has moved to retract an announcement that Sharon would meet Palestinian leaders on Sunday with the intention of declaring a cease-fire.
The surprise announcement came after the US peace envoy Anthony Zinni held separate meetings with Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
But an hour later Sharon's office said in a second statement that it had only agreed Zinni would continue with his efforts to cement a cesaefire.
Zinni shuttled between the Palestinian and Israeli leaders on Saturday, trying to bring the two sides together for face-to-face talks on a cease-fire that would halt nearly 18 months of Mideast violence.
Zinni met Yasser Arafat at his West Bank headquarters in the town of Ramallah, and then held five hours of talks with the Palestinian leader's top aides including Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.
Erekat said that General Zinni was exerting maximum efforts with both sides.
Arafat was cheered on by crowds of supporters as he left his West Bank residence on a rare excursion out of his headquarters on Saturday evening.
Arafat visited al-Amari refugee camp where he comforted the relatives of many of those killed during the latest Israeli incursions into Ramallah.