Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said Sunday during a weekly cabinet meeting that he would shun any Palestinian government that does not meet the international Quartet’s demands to recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept signed peace agreements.
Olmert said that he and the U.S President George W. Bush are in accord that the Palestinian power-sharing government should meet the demands set forth by the Quartet (United Nations, United States, European Union, Russia), in return for lifting the year-long economic embargo on the Palestinian National Authority.
Palestinian rival factions, Hamas and Fatah, agreed two weeks ago in the Saudi Arabian holy city of Makkah to form a unity government that puts an end to the internecine infighting of the past three months and lift the internationally-imposed embargo.
Olmert told ministers “ A Palestinian government that won’t abide by the Quartet conditions won’t receive any recognition and cooperation”.
The PM added “the Israeli and American positions are totally identical”. Olmert also told his cabinet members that he would request U.S Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice to focus the expected summit on the Makkah deal and its ramifications.
The remarks by Olmert came shortly before a trilateral summit in Jerusalem between Olmert, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and U.S Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. The summit wil take place on Monday and will focus on ways of reviving the stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace process.
Sources at the Palestinian President’s office, said that Secretary Rice will meet Abbas in Ramalllah Sunday after her meetings with Israeli officials in Tel-Aviv, in preparation for the Monday summit.
The sources added that a scheduled press conference right after the face-to-face meeting has been cancelled.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas re-appointed last Thursday Prime Minister Ismalil Haniya of Hamas to form a unity government including Fatah, on the basis of committing to international legitimacy resolutions and signed agreements.
Haniya had previously quit the cabinet in a show of commitment to the new government formation.