Olmert: Israel will give talks a chance

Israel has promised Egypt to give negotiations with the Palestinians a chance but in the end it reserves the right to find other ways to end conflict with its neighbours.

    Olmert: Israel is committed to the Middle East peace road map

    The promise was made on Sunday by Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, who paid his first visit to Egypt on Sunday since taking office.

    Olmert met Hosni Mubarak, the president of Egypt, in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh after Egyptian officials said they would argue against unilateral steps by Israel and in favour of detailed peace talks with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president.

    The Israeli premier told a joint news conference with Mubarak that Israel was committed to the international road map peace plan through talks with Abbas, whom he is expected to meet for the first time as prime minister late this month.


    Olmert said: "My aim is to exhaust all means to further this channel ... . I hope that our Palestinian partners will take advantage of this opportunity and will implement all their obligations so that we can advance according to the road map.

    "We hope the Palestinian Authority will carry out the demands of ... the international community and if it does not do that we will look for other ways"

    Ehud Olmert,
    Israeli prime minister

    "If this does not happen, or when we come to the conclusion that it is not happening, we will have no other option than to look for other ways to move the situation in the Middle East forward and not to allow stagnation to take hold.
    "We hope the Palestinian Authority [PA] will carry out the demands of ... the international community and if it does not do that we will look for other ways."
    The road map includes demands that the PA disarm armed groups and that Israel suspend all settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.
    Olmert also apologised for the killing of two Egyptian policemen by Israeli soldiers last Friday.

    Israel and Egypt agreed to a joint committee to investigate the border incident, which was condemned in the upper house of the Egyptian parliament on Sunday, and to prevent a recurrence.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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