Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, are scheduled to meet next Tuesday in the Jerusalem's residence of Olmert, within efforts to boost up an already stalled peace talks. Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Eriqat, told media outlets today that the meeting will aim at setting an agenda for a final peace settlement between the two sides. He denied that both leaders have recently come closer in terms of east Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as their future capital.
Eriqat was quoted as saying " there have been talks but I can not say there has been progress".
Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, stated from Berlin last week that there is a possibility to reach an agreement on borders of Palestinian state , as his foreign minister, Tsibi Livni, dismissed such a possibility with Hamas being in control of Gaza.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, voiced concern yesterday over the latest Israeli plans to build 111 housing units in settlements, based in east Jerusalem, branding them ' a stumbling block'.
Fayyad has been in an official visit to the U.S over the past week, in order to garner financial support to Abbas's Palestinian Authority and ask pressure on Israel for a smoother peace process.
The Palestinian cabinet criticized last week Israeli actions on the ground, as top Palestinian negotiator Ahmad Qurai, stated that peace can not be achieved until Israel halts all unilateral actions on the ground including settlement activities.
Washington, which hosted last November a Palestinian-Israeli peace summit, announced it would ask for clarification from Israel regarding planned settlement projects.
The Annapolis peace meet of November2007, meant to revive the stalled Palestinian-Palestinian peace process on basis of a two-state solution by the end of 2008. Such a solution will also include core issues like problem of Palestinian refugees-displaced by Israel in 1948-, status of east Jerusalem and borders of Palestine.
In June of last year, the Islamist Hamas movement took over complete control of the coastal region, amidst a power struggle with Fatah party of President Abbas, who has been engaged in a long series of talks with Olmert, with no concrete progress on the ground.
Israel occupied Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967 and since then many chapters of Palestinian-Israeli conflict have been opened, among which the Oslo accords of 1993, which gave the Palestinians small-scale autonomy on such lands.