Olmert, Abbas move forward with negotiations

Monday, March 12, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
While Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas did agree that the Saudi initiative could serve as the basis for moving ahead with the Road Map, they did not come up with a solution to the issues of the Palestinian right of return, Jerusalem and the release of prisoners.

In this stage of the negotiations, Olmert and Abbas feel it is too early to be discussing these issues, requirements for a two-state solution.

“We have said more than once that the Saudi initiative is an issue that we would be willing to take seriously, and we have not changed our stance,” the prime minister said.

The Palestinian chairman on the other hand reaffirmed his commitment to recognizing Israel, renouncing terrorism and honoring former Israeli-Palestinian agreements as required for peace and a Palestinian state through the Road Map.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington that the refugee problem is a Palestinian issue they’ll have to deal with once a state is established.

Livni demanded that moderates, including Abbas take immediate action to fight terror, prevent the smuggling of weapons across the border and work for the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit who was kidnapped last summer.

Livni also warned the European Union that Israel would cease talks with the Palestinians if they cease to put pressure on the PA regarding the recognition of Israel, renouncing terrorism and accepting previous agreements.

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