Israel, PA start to discuss ”core issues”
Israelis and Palestinians opened talks on Monday on the most intractable issues of their conflict. Top negotiators Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qorei met in Jerusalem for the first time since Bush's landmark peace mission last week.
"Today the talks will begin on the core issues," a senior aide to Livni told AFP. "Livni is authorised to discuss all the issues, and the issues where they fail to reach understanding will be referred to (Israeli Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert and Abu Mazen," he said.
"Past experience has shown that when talks are held in the limelight they lead to the radicalisation of the positions and to the distortion of the things said behind closed doors; to a rise in expectation and to disappointment that eventually leads to violence," her office quoted Livni as telling a ministerial meeting on Monday.
The two decided their future meetings would be conducted under a low media profile. Before Monday's meeting, According to Haaretz, sources said that in addition to core issues, the two discussed increasing tension between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is said to be planning on quitting the government coalition over the peace negotiations.