Israel said on Monday it had made "significant progress" on the issue of the future borders of a Palestinian state following a top-level meeting between the two sides. "We have made significant progress on the two issues of outlining the borders of the future Palestinian state and the security arrangements between Israel and the Palestinian state," a senior Israeli official said.
The official's comments came after a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas at which he was present. According to AFP, the two leaders met hours after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wrapped up her latest visit to the region during which she pressed the two sides to advance US-brokered peace talks launched five months ago.
Cited by the AP, another Israeli official said Olmert expressed readiness to make "tangible" changes in the West Bank, telling Abbas that he understands that the months of peace talks must be accompanied by action on the ground. Abbas and Olmert said following their meeting that they planned to work toward securing a peace settlement by the end of the year, Israel Radio reported.
A Palestinian official said prior to the meeting that Abbas planned pressed Olmert on West Bank settlements and military roadblocks during their meeting.