olmert with abdullah 298.
(photo credit: AP )
Despite Jordan's opposition to any unilateral moves by Israel, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stuck to his guns in a meeting in Jordan with King Abdullah II on Thursday, saying that if the Hamas-led Palestinian government did not fulfill the criteria for negotiations Israel would act unilaterally.
"I truly hope the Palestinian government will implement the demands of the Quartet and the international community, therefore making it possible to hold negotiations on the basis of the road map," Olmert said from a podium next to the king.
However, in what was almost a carbon-copy statement of what he said at a press conference with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm e-Sheikh on Sunday, Olmert warned, "Should the Palestinians not meet their obligations, and should no political horizon be apparent, we will have no alternative but to look for other ways in order to move the situation in the Middle East forward."
Unlike Mubarak, Abdullah spoke forthrightly against unilateralism.
In a prepared statement to journalists sitting in the courtyard of the Royal Palace, Abdullah said that a two-state solution with the Palestinians "must be achieved through bilateral Palestinian-Israeli negotiations and agreements that are based on the road map."
But Olmert's criteria for negotiations and Hamas's refusal to abide by them put the two sides in a stalemate. In order to receive aid the Quartet determined that the Hamas-led government must recognize Israel, renounce terror and accept previously made agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian government has refused to accept such conditions.
The press conference took place following a 90-minute meeting between the two leaders over a working lunch. It was Olmert's first meeting with the king and the first to take place officially since Israel killed Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in March 2004.
Abdullah expressed concern over the "deteriorating economic and humanitarian situation" in the Palestinian areas following a crippling economic aid boycott of the Hamas-led government.
"We expressed Jordan's desire for all parties to work together to guarantee the resumption of assistance to the Palestinian people," he said.