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Clinton makes 5th trip to W.Va.

January 10, 2000|By JULIE E. GREENE

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - President Clinton returned to Shepherdstown on Sunday, making it his fifth stop in the college town since this round of peace talks between Israel and Syria began a week ago.

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After departing from his helicopter on the ball field at Shepherd College around 6:30 p.m., Clinton spoke briefly with the college's president before saying hello to the media and departing in his motorcade to the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, where he was expected to have dinner.

"It was very exciting. He was very pleasant," said Cathy Dunlop, wife of Shepherd College President David L. Dunlop.

"He was very generous in his compliments to the campus," David Dunlop said.

Dunlop said he talked to Clinton about having the president visit the campus to talk to students, to which the president expressed interest.

Classes resume Tuesday with several students already back on campus.

Clinton did not stop his motorcade for a group of at least 30 people waiting across Duke Street from the college in the chilly weather and who had hoped to meet the president.

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Ann Spurgas, 47, of Shepherdstown, said the crowd did see Clinton lean over and wave at them from his limousine, which had a light on inside.

Spurgas said it was "absolutely" worth waiting the 90 minutes in the cold to see the president's motorcade go by.

"If nothing else, we got to see the helicopters," said Spurgas' friend, Margaret Smith of Shepherdstown.

Clinton's helicopter was the third to land, after one carrying the White House press corps landed on the opposite side of Shaw Hall and a decoy helicopter landed on the ball field.

Joe Spurgas, 50, said the entire group waiting along Duke Street was searched with metal detectors prior to Clinton's arrival.

"We'd love for him to come back," Spurgas said.

Smith said having the peace talks in Shepherdstown has been "a real nice experience for the town."

"We've enjoyed hosting and it's been exciting for us," Smith said.

On Sunday afternoon, U.S. Department of State spokesman James P. Rubin said the leaders of the Syrian and Israeli delegations are expected to head home soon.

"The only outstanding procedural question is: Would some technical people stick around and try to do some work, and would that be valuable or not. That's something we're wrestling with," Rubin said.

"We do think that if a core agreement is going to be achieved, that the leaders are going to continue to have to do their work, and that means that at some point we're going to have to reconvene - sooner rather than later," Rubin said.

Clinton was expected to discuss when the peace talks would reconvene with the Syrian and Israeli leaders on Sunday night.

While Syrian and Israeli delegations met in several committee meetings on Sunday, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright took Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, his wife, Foreign Minister Levy and other members of the Israeli delegation to Antietam National Battlefield and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

Afterward, Albright was to take Barak to her farm in Hillsboro, Va., for lunch, Rubin said.

On Saturday, Albright joined the Syrian delegation for an Eid celebration before taking Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa and members of the Syrian delegation to Harpers Ferry National Historic Park and to her home for tea.

On Friday night Albright had joined the Israeli delegation for a Shabat dinner.

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