Abbas to meet Sharon

The Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas will meet his Israeli counterpart Ariel Sharon on Monday to discuss implementation of the internationally-sponsored “road map” aimed at ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

    Israel has 14 reservations
    to the 'road map'

    The second meeting between the two leaders comes after Israel gave its conditional approval to the “road map” on Sunday following a cabinet meeting.

    “There will be a meeting to discuss how the implementation of the "road map" can be taken forward following the conditional approval by the Israeli government,” said a Palestinian official.

    The endorsement came only after Washington guaranteed it would address Israel’s 14 concerns about the plan.

    Meanwhile, Washington has told Palestinians it will not bend on any of the reservations.

    Earlier on Sunday Abbas said the Palestinians would not accept any change to the plan.

    The document “must be accepted as it is, including…its conditions and its articles. No modification of the articles will be accepted by the Palestinian side,” Abbas told Egyptian state television.

    Abbas said the Palestinian side dropped its own reservations to advance the peace process.

    Possible summit

    Meanwhile, US administration officials left Washington on Sunday for the Middle East to prepare for a possible summit between US President George W Bush, Abbas and Sharon.

    Senior US administration officials said Bush was planning to travel to the region early next month.

    US personnel flew to the Egyptian resort Sharm El-Sheikh to lay the groundwork for a summit. Another possible meeting place is the Jordanian resort of Aqaba.

    Washington has said it would not agree to a summit until Palestinian leaders curb resistance activities and Israel lifts crippling blanket curfews.

    Administration officials said Bush may also stop in Qatar to visit US troops.


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