An Israeli online daily reported on Thursday at dawn that the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, and the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, will meet in two week’s time to resume the top diplomatic talks.The online daily quoted senior Israeli sources, stating that the two leaders want to concentrate on their talks about “furthering the dialogue” after the set back of bilateral talks between Israel and the Palestinians following the Mecca agreement.
Aides of Abbas and Olmert met earlier this week in preparation for the summit.
On Wednesday, Abbas said in Cairo that he would meet Olmert in a week or two, the online daily said.
During a meeting with European Union commissioner for foreign affairs, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, who is visiting the region, Olmert said that his talks with Abbas will focus on “fighting terrorism” and the quality of life of the Palestinians.
Yet, Olmert is not willing to hold talks on a final status agreement, and the implementation of the second stage of the Road Map Peace Plan in the Middle East.
He told Ferrero-Waldner that he intends to extend the daily operating hours of the Karni trade crossing in the Gaza Strip to enable goods to flow into and out of the Gaza Strip.
Ferrero-Waldner said that the Quartet demands on the Palestinian Unity Government are the same. The Quartet demands that the government “renounces violence, accepts the previous peace deals signed between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and recognizes Israel.
Israel said that the unity deal struck earlier this month between Fateh and Hamas in Mecca – Saudi Arabia, only pledges to respect the previously signed peace deals.
During her meeting with Palestinian officials on Wednesday, Ferrero-Waldner said that the new unity government must meet the Quartet demands.
Ferrero-Waldner also said that in spite of these demands, the EU will not stop its emergency aid program providing relief to 900,000 Palestinians.
Moreover, U.S secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to arrive in the region in late March.
Rice will attempt to advance talks between the Palestinian president and Israel, but is not expected to hold a trilateral summit with Abbas and Olmert.