WASHINGTON -- CIA director George J. Tenet is holding a pivotal meeting with Yasser Arafat's interior minister as the Palestinians push for completion of a U.S. plan to improve security on the West Bank.
Tenet's meeting with Abdel Razak Yehiyeh could hold the key to Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, long demanded by Arafat's Palestinian Authority as a first step toward transforming the territory into a state.
But even with White House pressure to finish the job, differences between Israel and the Palestinians on the scope of an Israeli pullback could hamper completion of a new security blueprint by the Central Intelligence Agency.
A CIA assessment team met with Israeli and Palestinian officials in the area two weeks ago and is working on a report to Tenet. Egypt and Jordan have offered to provide training to Palestinian recruits.
But, diplomatic officials said Friday, Tenet and other senior CIA officials are not convinced the situation is ripe for a new security effort by the United States.
The White House and Secretary of State Colin Powell would like the CIA to complete a plan quickly, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity. CIA and State Department officials then would go to the Middle East to get the arrangements started.
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