Official: Olmert will try to reach agreement with Palestinians within two months
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will try to reach an agreement in peace talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before a new government takes office, an official close to the Israeli leader told Reuters on Thursday. Olmert announced on Wednesday that he would not run in his centrist Kadima party's Sept. 17 leadership contest and would step down to allow his successor to form a new government.
The official said the prime minister intended on "reaching agreement with the Palestinians during the time he has left." "Any agreement he reaches with the Palestinians won't be a personal agreement and he will make sure that the [new] Kadima leadership is briefed and on board," the official added.
Abbas sees Olmert's decision to resign as an "internal Israeli matter" and will work with his successor, a spokesman said. "This is an internal Israeli matter. The Palestinian Authority deals with the prime minister of Israel, regardless if he is Olmert or somebody else," said Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah. "The concern of the Palestinian authority is to have an Israeli prime minister who is committed to peacemaking."