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THE WEEK AHEAD

WASHINGTON : Sixth Time a Charm?

August 18, 1992

The canvas hasn't changed, but some of the artists have as all sides prepare for the sixth round of Middle East peace talks scheduled to open next Monday in the U.S. capital.

The session, expected to last a month, is the first since Israeli elections led to formation of a new and apparently more flexible government under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin has indicated he wants to see rapid progress toward elections and limited home rule for Palestinian residents of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. And he quickly replaced the hard-line head of Israel's delegation negotiating with the Syrians.

Still, substantial hurdles remain in the talks, which began last October in Madrid and continued through four more rounds in Washington. And no single Arab delegation--the Palestinians, Jordanians, Syrians or Lebanese--is likely to come to any agreement with Jerusalem unless there is progress on all fronts.

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