Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pledged in a meeting Wednesday to release more than 150 Palestinian prisoners by the end of this month as a "goodwill gesture" to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Olmert announced last week he is resigning because of multiple corruption investigations against him.
Announcing the pledge after a meeting between the two leaders, Olmert spokesman Mark Regev did not say how many prisoners were to be freed. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who took part in the meeting at Olmert's official residence, said it was agreed that over 150 prisoners would be freed on Aug. 25.
Wednesday's meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders was the first since Olmert announced he would step down after his party selects a new leader in September. According to the AP, Regev, Olmert's spokesman, said after the talks with Abbas that the sides were still striving to meet the target they set at last November's U.S.-sponsored peace conference in Annapolis, Md.
"We're committed to moving forward, we're committed to making the Annapolis process work," he said. "I expect these meetings to continue."