Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed on Tuesday to accelerate peace talks, despite differences over how quickly to tackle the issue of Jerusalem, Israeli officials said. "Israel is committed to discussing all the core issues," Olmert's spokesman Mark Regev told reporters after the leaders met in Jerusalem, adding negotiators would meet on an "almost daily" basis.
According to Reuters, Regev said Olmert was "very clear" earlier this week when he declared Abbas had accepted an Israeli suggestion to delay talks on Jerusalem until the end of negotiations on Palestinian statehood. An Israeli source familiar with the talks conveyed: "The issue of Jerusalem did not come up in the discussion. I'm not aware of changes in the Israeli position."
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Abbas and Olmert discussed the issues without reaching agreement and set another meeting in two weeks. Abbas also raised concerns about Israel's blockade of Gaza Strip and pushed for release of Palestinian prisoners, the Palestinian official added.