Home / International / News Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Olmert, Abbas meet in Jerusalem
Adjust font size:

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Monday, in an effort to break a deadlock in negotiations on a joint statement, which will be presented at an international peace summit.


Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (R) meets with Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Jerusalem, Nov. 19, 2007.



The meeting was the last one between the two leaders ahead of the US-sponsored summit, which is scheduled to take place next week in Annapolis, Maryland.


It was also probably the last chance for the two leaders to exert their efforts to get the document ready in time.


Shortly after the meeting ended, a spokesman at Olmert's office said that Olmert and Abbas made some progress in certain elements regarding the joint paper during the two-hour discussion.


The spokesman didn't elaborate the details about the progress, but said that the two sides' negotiation teams would resume talks on Monday night.


On Sunday, a top diplomat was quoted by local daily Yedioth Ahronoth as saying that a stalemate in negotiations may lead Israel and the Palestinians to write up separate statements detailing their political agendas ahead of the US-led peace conference.


The official added that, "At present time, we don't have a joint statement or even a draft one."


At Monday's cabinet meeting, Olmert said that the upcoming Annapolis conference would be important, despite the fact that no negotiations would be taking place there.


The remarks implied that Israel sees the conference mainly as a ceremonial launching pad for new peace efforts, while the Palestinians want a more detailed plan for how post-conference talks will proceed.


The Israeli Cabinet also approved on Monday the release of 441 Palestinian prisoners as a good-will gesture to Abbas. But the number of prisoners to be released are far less than 2000, a number Abbas demanded Israel to free.


Israel holds nearly 10,000 Palestinian prisoners.


Olmert also announced at the cabinet meeting that Israel would freeze any construction of new settlements in the West Bank, and uproot all the unauthorized outpost in the area.


He said that as part of the political process that will follow the Annapolis summit, Israel must be prepared to make difficult decisions regarding its future.


"It is impossible to repeat that the road map is a strategic asset for Israel and at the same time to ignore our obligations," said Olmert, adding that Israel will not build new settlements, not expropriate land, and to raze illegal outposts.


The promise Monday to dismantle tiny settlement outposts, are key aspects of the "road map," a US-backed peace plan that stalled shortly after its inception in 2003 because neither Israel nor the Palestinians met initial obligations.


The US has been trying to revive the road map ahead of the peace conference.


However, he made no promise to halt construction in existing settlements, as required by the road map.


While the politicians are busy preparing the document, the Israeli army is also in a heightened state of alert ahead of the Annapolis summit.


According to Israeli daily the Jerusalem Post, officials from the Israel Defense Forces have said there were currently ten specific warnings concerning Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip plans to launch terror attacks before the summit.


The officials were quoted as saying that while there was no concrete intelligence that the warnings were connected to the peace summit, the assumption was that Palestinian militants in Gaza would try to perpetrate an attack to spoil the peace efforts.


On Monday, during the process of Olmert and Abbas' meeting, a number of Qassam and mortar barrages were launched from Gaza against southern Israeli communities. But none of the attacks caused injuries.


(Xinhua News Agency November 20, 2007)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
- Olmert: no agreement has been reached with Abbas
- Olmert pledges major peace push
- Israeli minister to Rice: Jerusalem not on table
- Abbas: Final status talks should start after fall summit
Most Viewed >>
> Korean Nuclear Talks
> Reconstruction of Iraq
> Middle East Peace Process
> Iran Nuclear Issue
> 6th SCO Summit Meeting
- China Development Gateway
- Foreign Ministry
- Network of East Asian Think-Tanks
- China-EU Association
- China-Africa Business Council
- China Foreign Affairs University
- University of International Relations
- Institute of World Economics & Politics
- Institute of Russian, East European & Central Asian Studies
- Institute of West Asian & African Studies
- Institute of Latin American Studies
- Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies
- Institute of Japanese Studies