Olmert, Abbas advisors discuss talks
Ground set for a future meeting to be held between the two leaders.
By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER, JPOST STAFF
October 7, 2006 18:03
1 minute read.
Olmert pissed off 298.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have moved closer to holding a much-anticipated meeting after their aides held secret talks in the last week.
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Sources in the Prime Minister's Office confirmed Saturday that the preparatory meeting had taken place, but said no date had been scheduled for the summit between the two leaders or for the expected follow-up meeting between the sides' advisors.
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Olmert's foreign policy adviser, Shalom Turgeman, and his chief of staff Yoram Turbowicz, met several days ago with Chief Palestinian negotiator, Minister Saeb Erekat and Abbas's bureau chief, Rafik Husseini.
Information regarding the meeting first surfaced in the Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam.
One PMO senior official denied reports in the Palestinian media that a date had not been set because Israel was premising the meeting on the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit, who was captured by Hamas operatives on June 25. Previous plans for a meeting between Olmert and Abbas were shelved after the kidnapping.
"It's never been a condition," the official said, noting that Shalit's release was a subject of constant attention by the office.
The official, who asked not to be named, added that the talks, when they take place, would focus on the general issues connected to the Palestinians and referred to Olmert's previous statements that there is room for a dialogue with moderates.
According to Palestinian reports, in addition to the issue of Shalit, the Palestinians, represented by chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, also asked Olmert's aides - foreign policy advisor Shalom Turgeman and Chief of Staff Yoram Turbowicz - to transfer tax revenue held since the election of Hamas and to open the passages in the Gaza Strip.