Olmert pledges to push for peace talks

The Israeli prime minister has told Jordan's King Abdullah that he will do his utmost to restart peace talks with the Palestinians.

    Ehud Olmert (L) met King Abdullah in Amman

    Ehud Olmert said he would meet the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, but that Israel would seek other solutions unless the Palestinians meet international demands to end all violence.

     

    At a joint news conference in Amman on Thursday, Olmert said: "I told his majesty that Israel is committed to the road map and to advancing the bilateral track with the Palestinians. Israel will invest all efforts in order to advance this avenue.

     

    "Political stalemate in the Middle East is bad for Israel, is bad for the Palestinians and is bad for the region."

     

    Jordan is pressing Israel to resume peace talks with the Palestinians and is worried about the consequences of chaos on its doorstep should the Jewish state impose final borders in the West Bank.

    Uprooting

    Jordan, which has a large Palestinian population, also has strained ties with Hamas.

     

    Israel plans to draw final borders with the Palestinians by 2010 if peace talks remain frozen.

     

    Olmert's plan involves uprooting remote Jewish enclaves in the West Bank while strengthening larger settlements behind a fortified border.

    The Palestinians reject Olmert's plan, saying such moves would deny them the viable state they seek in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
     
    Abdullah said in an interview published this week that Jordan's ties with Israel could be harmed if Olmert went ahead with his

    unilateral blueprint.


    Road map

    He urged Olmert on Thursday to revive peace talks.


    "A negotiated settlement that leads to a viable and contiguous independent Palestinian state, on Palestinian territory, will help establish a just, comprehensive Middle East peace that provides security and stability to every Arab and Israeli man, woman and child," Abdullah told the conference.

    Jordan is one of two Arab neighbours to have full peace treaties with Israel. The other is Egypt.

    Both regard the road map as a viable plan for a lasting settlement, but neither Israel nor the Palestinians have met their commitments under the plan drawn up in 2002.

    SOURCE: AFP


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