American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, who plans to meet
Thursday with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to tell him
that me must increase his efforts to impose order in the Palestinian
areas to avoid “missing the opportunity to resume negotiations with
Israel”. Rice is expected to pledge U.S aid to strengthen Abbas
position, but expects results in return.
Meanwhile, senior Israeli officials said that Washington knows that any development in the region depends on the success of cease-fire.
The visit of Rice in the region comes as the Egyptian Intelligence Chief, Omar Suleiman, arrived in Israel on Wednesday for talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials.
On Wednesday afternoon Suleiman met Amir Peretz and discussed the issued of prisoner swap combined with a diplomatic process, Israel's Ynetnews reported.
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who met with Tuesday with King Abdullah of Jordan, said following the meeting that he is encouraged by the recent statements of Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, regarding a final-status agreement with the Palestinians, and his “positive reference to the Arab peace initiative proposed in 2002 by the Arab League.
In spite of the seemingly positive but small developments, senior members of Olmert's staff stated that he opposes initiating final status talks with Abbas as long as the Palestinian government, headed by Hamas, recognizes Israel, renounces violence, and accepts previous peace agreements between the two sides.
The three conditions were set by the Quartet committee composed on the United States, United Nations, European Union, and Russia.
Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported that Israeli government officials expressed satisfaction with a report they received Tuesday from Elliot Abram, White House envoy, after he carried a tour in Europe.
Abrams met with Olmert and informed him the the EU promised him that any peace initiative would be first coordinated with the US, and that the recent plan for reviving the Israeli-Palestinian talks, which was presented by Spain, Italy and France would not be promoted without an American consent, Haaretz added.