Abbas: Real possibility to achieve peace
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that all sides want to reach a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians before President Bush leaves office. According to Abbas, he has received "encouraging signs" from Israel and the United States.
"I agree with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that there is a real possibility to achieve peace, and I want to reiterate that we are serious about using this opportunity to reach this historical peace," Abbas said following a meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
"I'm quite confident that the will is there on both sides that people want to end this conflict," Rice said. Israel and the Palestinians were "moving toward an understanding" that a U.S.-sponsored conference can be a forum to restart long-stalled peace talks, she said.
Rice also met Monday with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Ahmed Qurei, the Palestinians' chief negotiator working with Israel to draft a blueprint for future peace talks.