Spain's foreign minister Josep Piqué confirmed yesterday that Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat will take part in the two-day Formentor Forum which opens in the Hotel Formentor today. At a Press conference in Madrid yesterday, at which he was accompanied by his Chilean counterpart, Soledad Alvear, he said that both he and Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar had spokem within the previous few hours with the leading protagonists of the Middle East peace process, in an effort to prevent the recent violence ruining what has been achieved so far. Pique said that the presence of Arafat in Formentor would depend on the evolution of events and the results of the Paris summit under the auspices of the United States. The Spanish minister said that he had discussed the situation with Israel's acting foreign minister Shlomo Ben Ami and his Palestinian colleague Nabil Shaath, as well as with American Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and head of French diplomacy, Hubert Védrine. He explained that it was a matter of doing everything necessary to continue the peace process and it is an essential condition to achieve this that violence should end and both sides should assume their respective responsibility so that this terrible violence may come to an end and not compromise the future. Pique went on to say that the peace process has many enemies on both sides, and it is when advances have been made, both in Camp David and in other forums, to achieve practically 90 percent of agreement, that the enemies of peace are making their greatest efforts to destroy it. He stressed that it was necessary to follow the problem closely and try to achieve a good outcome for the Paris talks and see how they can continue. He added that Arafat had confirmed his presence at the Formentor Forum, which this year is called Security in the Mediterranean.
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