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Israel Says West Bank Troop Pullback Possible

30 January 2005 -- Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said today that Israeli troops could pull back from several West Bank cities within days, depending on the outcome of further talks with the new Palestinian leadership.

Mofaz was speaking to Israel Radio after holding talks late last night with Palestinian official Muhammad Dahlan, on confidence-building steps.

Mofaz said there is an opportunity to create "a new reality." He said one of the issues discussed was the transfer of responsibilities for West Bank cities to Palestinian security forces.

He said the issue should be finalized at further talks in the next few days.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and new Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas are expected to meet on 8 February 8.