Sharon wants Labor to join coalition
Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Monday invited the Labor Party into his shaky coalition, and both sides said they expect to agree on a partnership relatively quickly.
An alliance with Labor would boost Sharon's plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and four isolated West Bank settlements by 2005. Coalition hard-liners, mainly in Sharon's Likud Party, have been trying to sabotage this pullback.
According to press reports, Labor expects to be given senior Cabinet posts, including that of foreign minister for party leader, Shimon Peres. However, senior Likud ministers now holding these jobs have threatened to stir a rebellion in the party if removed from their posts.
Sharon and Peres met privately for an hour Monday morning. Both sides said the talks had gone well. "The prime minister turned to Shimon Peres and asked him to open negotiations on Labor joining the government. He asked that they begin as soon as possible," said Yoram Dori, a spokesman for Peres, according to The AP.
Officials close to both men said they expected a deal soon. (albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)