Schedule for talks based on Clinton’s legacy

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 18, 2000

The president has a schedule to keep,&uot; Clinton spokesman Joe Lockhart said Monday. And &uot;that schedule has not changed.&uot;

Lockhart was referring to the three-day G-8 summit that opens this Friday, an event Clinton is using to spur Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to make compromises in their peace talks this week.

But Lockhart may as well have been speaking about the countdown to the end of Clinton’s presidency – and the legacy many people say still eludes him.

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He seems to be using the talks this week as a springboard toward making a name for himself beyond the Monica Lewinsky scandal that will forever mark his name in history.

Leaders hope the peace talks in Maryland this week will create the compromises necessary for a possible a resolution of Jerusalem’s future, the size of the Palestinian state and the disposition of Jewish settlers and Palestinian refugees.

One Israeli leader cast a discouraging view of Clinton’s timetable Monday when he said Barak told him he doubted the two sides could come to an agreement before Clinton leaves for the G-8 summit in Japan on Wednesday.

Still, while Clinton may be hoping for a major breakthrough according to his time frame, we think just the talks themselves are progress toward peace.

Assigning a deadline could help spur the process, but that deadline should be decided according to what is best for the peace process, not what may be best for Clinton’s legacy.