Abbas-Olmert meeting to precede Bush’s visit

Abbas-Olmert meeting to precede Bush’s visit

PA chief Mahmoud Abbas is slated to hold a meeting with Israeli premier Ehud Olmert on Monday or Tuesday to display their intention on achieving progress in peace talks before arrival of American president George Bush to the region next week, Israeli political sources told the Hebrew radio on Sunday.

The meeting falls at a time of escalating IOF aggression on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip that killed more than 60 Palestinians in the Strip over the past month of December.

Meanwhile, Hebrew press sources said that an official declaration would follow Bush”s visit to the region signaling the start of official negotiations between the Hebrew state and the PA over “core issues”. Tel Aviv had declared that it would not negotiate the return of refugees, sovereignty over occupied Jerusalem or even withdrawal to pre 1967 borders.

The Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams had agreed on forming a higher negotiations committee headed by Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni and former PA premier Ahmed Qurei to discuss the core issues while leaving the details of other questions to other committees, according to the Ha”aretz newspaper.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Jihad Movement”s senior official, Habib Khader, said in a press release on Saturday that Bush”s visit would only provide cover for IOF crimes and would deepen the internal Palestinian rift.

He said that the visit is not in the interest of the Palestinian people.

Khader added that the visit would not have any positive impact on the Gaza siege but rather would lead to tightening the siege and escalating the aggression on it.