Olmert, Abbas meet days before the Israeli leader steps down
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Tuesday night, possibly their last meeting before the Israeli leader leaves office, making a final push to forge a peace agreement by the end of 2008. The talks came a day before Olmert's Kadima Party chooses a new leader. Olmert promised to step down over corruption allegations after the Wednesday ballot, though he could remain in office for several weeks until a new cabinet is formed.
Olmert and Abbas have met regularly since last November, when they renewed peace talks and pledged to try for an accord by this January. According to the AP, Olmert spokesman Mark Regev said Olmert feels the January target is still attainable, and "what is required is decisions from leaderships on both sides ... both creativity and flexibility."
The Palestinians are taking a gloomy view. Negotiator Saeb Erekat said Tuesday that "there are still gaps on all issues," adding the Palestinian insistence on a comprehensive solution. "Either we have an agreement on all issues or no agreement," he said.
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- Olmert tells Abbas peace talks to continue despite corruption scandal
- Palestinian Authority cabinet steps down
- As Abbas expresses support for Olmert, Israeli leader says the two won't meet