Olmert , Abbas to Draw Up Declaration of Principles by November


Olmert , Abbas to Draw Up Declaration of Principles by November

Olmert, Abbas to Draw Up Declaration of Principles by November
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s meeting with Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas [Abu Mazen] Tuesday [August 28] revolved around the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, Ynet has learned. The two, who met at the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem, discussed some of the more sensitive issues, such as the status of Jerusalem and the possible borders of the future Palestinian state.

Olmert and Abbas decided to hold at least two more meetings before October in an effort to come to an understanding about all core issues before presenting a declaration of principles to the international peace conference scheduled to take place in Washington this November.

The next meeting between the two was scheduled for a few days before Rosh Hashanah [Jewish New Year/Feast of Trumpet]. The Israelis and Palestinians also agreed that a professional team, including the prime minister’s chief of staff Yoram Turbowitz and diplomatic adviser Shalom Turgeman, would be formed to create the declaration of principles.

A senior political source in the Prime Minister’s Office made it clear that it was too soon to tell if such an agreement would find its way to the Washington conference, stressing Israel’s ultimate goal is to create a two-state solution in accordance with the Road Map.

The source denied Al-Jazeera’s Tuesday report that said Olmert and Abbas discussed the final draft of an agreement addressing the Palestinian-Israeli core issues. “There is a big difference between an agreement and an early, general concept...at this point, no agreement has been reached, and the discussions are ongoing.â€

Another issue discussed by Olmert and Abbas was the Philadelphi Route-along the border between Gaza Strip and Egypt-and the need to call a quadruple meeting, including Israel, the PA, the United States, and Egypt, in order to find an acceptable solution to the ongoing weapons smuggling through Philadelphi into Gaza.

Cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security forces was also discussed. Both sides expressed their satisfaction with the progress made in the prisoners’ amnesty deal: some 150 of the 180 Palestinian prisoners have surrendered their weapons to the PA after being removed from the Israel Defense Forces’ wanted lists. Olmert and Abbas also agreed to further study the Dayton plan, calling for the continued rearmament of the PA.

The two agreed ministers from both sides must continue meeting on a regular basis and discussed the Israeli-Palestinian business conference scheduled for October. Both Olmert and Abbas are to attend the conference, where they will be joined by the Quartet’s Middle East envoy Tony Blair and some 100 businessmen, Israeli and Palestinian.

Meanwhile, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat held a press conference in Ramallah and negated the possibility of the Palestinians agreeing to any temporary solution. According to Erakat, the talks between Olmert and Abbas may have been serious, but did not address any of the final details.

As for the international peace conference, Erakat said that “as far as I knew, no one has received an invitation.†The Palestinians, he added, would like to see more Arab nations take part in it. “We want Syria, Lebanon, and all other Arab parties to take part in the conference…we will not allow the negotiating channels to be separated.â€

(By Ronny Sofer, Ynetnews.com, August 28, 2007)

Prayer Focus
Pray that the leaders and their associates will seek to negotiate with wisdom and insight.

“If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over themâ (Ecclesiastes 5:8).