President Mahmoud Abbas met on Tuesday night in Cairo, with David
Welch, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs,
for an update on the meeting held between the US president, George W.
Bush and Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert.

Abbas told Welch that he will not meet Olmert as long as Israel continues its military offensive in the Gaza Strip. Abbas demanded that Israel should stop all of its military activities before any possible meeting between the two leaders.

After meeting with Welch, Abbas intends to meet with the Egyptian President, Hosny Mubarak, on Thursday before a meeting of the Quartet in Cairo, the Ramattan News Agency reported.

Ramattan added that quartet representatives’ meeting will take place on Thursday at the house of the Russian Ambassador.

The meeting, Ramattan added, is a tactical step that will decide the time and location of another meeting that will include Foreign Minister of Quartet member states.

After a meeting with Welch, Egypt's Foreign Minister, Ahmad Abu Al Gheit, stated that Foreign Ministers of Jordan and Saudi Arabia will join the Quartet meeting that will take place by the end of December in the area of the Dead Sea.
Abu Al Gheit added that several steps should be taken immediately to ease the tension in the Middle East. The steps, suggested by Abu Al Gheit, include prisoner swap and halting all military activities by the Israeli army and Palestinian fighters.