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Abbas to push Olmert on state of peace talks-aide - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will assess the state of peace talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at their next planned meeting in Jerusalem on Monday, a senior Abbas aide said.

Monday’s meeting will be the first between the two leaders since Abbas briefly broke off talks last month following Israel’s killing of over 120 Palestinians, many of them civilians, in an offensive in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Israel said the incursion was intended to counter cross-border rocket fire by militants.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qurie have led regular negotiating sessions but these have shown little sign of progress since their launch at a peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland in November.

The sides are trying to reach a framework agreement by the end of 2008 that would outline the shape of a future Palestinian state.

Olmert has stated that implementation of any agreement would only take place once Abbas has reined in West Bank and Gaza Strip militants, as called for under a long-stalled “road map” peace plan.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Abbas would present his position that Israel has not met any of its initial commitments under the road map plan.

Israel has yet to halt all settlement activity and uproot Jewish outposts in the West Bank built without Israeli government authorisation, as stated in the road map.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said that neither Israel nor the Palestinians had done “nearly enough” to meet peacemaking obligations.

Olmert and Abbas last met on February 19.

Erekat said Abbas would also raise the situation in the Gaza Strip and the possibility of opening border crossings in and out of the blockaded territory which is ruled by Islamist Hamas who wrested control from Abbas’s forces there in June.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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