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Olmert, Abbas expected to meet Sunday-officials - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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JERUSALEM, (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are expected to meet on Sunday, officials said on Friday. “It will most likely be Sunday,” said Olmert spokeswoman Miri Eisin. Some details have yet to be finalised, she said.

Olmert has vowed to boycott the unity government that Abbas is forming with Hamas Islamists unless it recognises Israel, renounces violence and accepts interim peace deals as demanded by the Quartet of Middle East mediators.

At Sunday’s planned meeting, Olmert will tell Abbas the new government must meet the demands of the Quartet. Olmert will also ask Abbas to account for $100 million in Palestinian tax money which Israel transferred to him earlier this year, officials said.

Abbas will try to convince Olmert to soften his opposition to the unity government and is expected to raise the possibility of expanding a shaky Gaza truce to the occupied West Bank.

Some Palestinian militants oppose expanding the truce, and Israeli officials say they will not consider the proposal until Palestinians stop firing rockets from the Gaza Strip.

The unity government agreement contains a vague promise to “respect” previous Israeli-Palestinian pacts. But it does not commit the incoming government to abide by those pacts, nor to recognise Israel and renounce violence.

Abbas said on Thursday the unity government was “99 percent” agreed but would not be announced until next week.

Abbas and Olmert held a three-way summit last month with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that was overshadowed by differences over the power-sharing deal.

Rice is expected to return to the region for separate talks with Olmert and Abbas later this month.

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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