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Olmert, Abbas hold meeting in Jerusalem

Olmert, Abbas hold meeting in Jerusalem

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cautioned ahead of talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert yesterday that a U.S.-proposed Middle East conference on reviving peacemaking could turn out to be pointless.
Speaking on Palestinian television on Monday, Abbas took aim at Israel's approach to the international meeting that Washington hopes can make progress towards Palestinian statehood despite the violent takeover of Gaza by Hamas Islamists in June.
Abbas said the conference, expected in November, would be a "waste of time" if it stuck to a "declaration of principles."
Israeli officials have used the phrase to describe what Olmert might offer in answer to calls for rapid, final talks on establishing a state.
Olmert invited Abbas to his official Jerusalem residence for their latest session. They last met on August 6 in Jericho, the first visit by an Israeli prime minister to a Palestinian town in the occupied West Bank in seven years.
"They will be speaking about the development of Palestinian governing institutions, bolstering Abbas's government and issues concerning Israelis and Palestinians living side-by-side," said David Baker, an Israeli government spokesman.
Israeli and Palestinian officials emerged from the Jericho talks with differing comments on whether "fundamental" issues to be discussed soon should include "final-status" matters of borders and the future of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.
Israeli political commentators said Olmert, weakened by the failings of his government and the military in last year's Lebanon war, was in no rush to tackle such issues in depth and risk splitting a cabinet that includes the far-right.
Abbas said in his televised remarks that his talks with Olmert would again address ways of easing the effects of Israeli occupation of the West Bank.


Updated : 2021-06-15 16:20 GMT+08:00