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Syria and Israel start historic talks

An expanse of extinct volcanoes could hold the key to resolving decades of Jewish-Arab conflict. The Golan Heights, a plateau seized by Israel from Syria in 1967, is the focus of negotiations in Washington today.

Expectations are high - some say precipitously so. Never before have these two nations held talks between such high-level officials. The issues are hard, but not complex. A deal could be struck in "months," says Syria's foreign minister.

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Both sides have much to gain: security, respect, new investment. And American taxpayers can expect to play a role in any deal. The price tag: $18 billion. Below are reports on both sides of this strategic divide.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society