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Olmert Says to Set Borders of Israel by 2010
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Israeli Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that if elected, his government would hold talks with the United States and the international community before any future pullouts from the West Bank.

Speaking to Israel Radio, Olmert said that he would conduct "internal talks" within Israel, followed by talks with Washington and the international community to cement support for fixing borders with the Palestinians by more withdrawals.

"We want to set the permanent borders of Israel, and to do so, we must separate from the Palestinians," he said. "In order to separate from the Palestinians, we must define for ourselves our red lines."

After the Israelis came to an agreement on the future borders, Olmert said that he would hold negotiations with the United States and the international community over the "borderlines such that all of the international community will support, including the United States."

"I have a foundation for believing that there is great openness both in the United States and in other places, to listen to these points and to discuss them in seriousness," he added.

Olmert made the statement just ahead of Israel's general elections slated for Tuesday, in which his centrist Kadima party is tipped to win.

The acting prime minister has announced that he intends to fix the borders with the Palestinians by 2010 via unilaterally quitting isolated settlements while strengthening big ones.

A long-time ally of ailing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Olmert has been a staunch supporter of Israel's Gaza pullout last summer.

Olmert has also vowed no dealings with the new Palestinian government headed by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) unless the group renounces violence, recognize Israel's right to exist and accept interim peace deals.

(Xinhua News Agency March 27, 2006)

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