Abbas: firm on Israel?
Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and his Israeli counterpart Ariel Sharon ended their first meeting late on Saturday with “no results,” said Nabil Abu Rudayna, who is Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s adviser.
He said, however, that the two have agreed to hold further meetings.
Israeli prime minister’s office said that Abbas and Sharon would resume talks on the “road map” after the latter’s meeting with US President George W. Bush this week.
Palestinian officials said Abbas had been firm in insisting that Israel accept the “road map” before the implementation of measures that are stated in the plan.
Israel wants Palestinians to rein in resistance groups before it would agree to the “road map”.
The summit was the first between top Palestinian and Israeli leaders in two years. It was held less than two hours after two Jewish settlers were killed by a human bombing in the West Bank.
Sharon does not want
"Tonight's bloody attack in Hebron was another reminder that the Palestinians must take the matter of fighting terrorism seriously," said David Baker, an official in Sharon's office.
In a separate incident, two Palestinian fighters were killed by Israeli forces inside a West Bank Jewish outpost after they
injured two settlers there, Israeli military sources said.
Different Palestinian groups have pledged to continue their military activities against the Israeli occupation in the Occupied Territories regardless of the progress on the road map.
Abbas had been expected to ask Sharon to accept the plan, cease army incursions on Palestinian towns and villages and release thousands of prisoners.
Sharon had planned to propose a withdrawal of his forces from areas in northern Gaza that were recently seized and to hand them over to Palestinian security forces as a test, according to Israeli security sources. The Israelis would then decide on whether they would pull out more of their troops under the road map, said the sources.
Just one day before the summit between Abbas and Sharon, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat resigned from Abbas’s cabinet after he was excluded from the summit delegation.
Erakat is close to Arafat, who was under US pressure to appoint Abbas as prime minister in a step aimed at weakening the Palestinian leader.