(photo credit: GPO)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced Sunday that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had been apprised of the fact that a specific timetable for the management of negotiations following the Middle East peace conference scheduled in Annapolis later his year would not be fixed, Israel Radio reported.
"We will move on to negotiations with the aim of settling all the issues so that a Palestinian state can be established securely next to Israel," Olmert told the cabinet on Sunday.
"The Palestinian state will be the homeland for the Palestinian people just as the state of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people," Olmert said.
The prime minister added that when Israel and the Palestinians reach an agreement in the future, its implementation will rely entirely on the realization of the 'Road Map.'
Meanwhile, the head of the Palestinian negotiating team, Ahmed Qurei [Abu Ala], who participated in a Meretz committee meeting, said that despite the suffering of the Palestinians, they were eager for peace.
"Our hands are stretching out for peace and our hearts are open despite the suffering. I came to express the hope of my people that peace is still possible. The pain and suffering will not take [away] our hope for peace, and we are determined to arrive at an honest and co-existing peace," Qurei told Meretz members at the Tel Aviv meeting.
The former PA prime minister also emphasized the importance of the peace summit, planned for November or December, saying that it will lay out the groundwork for successful talks and the "character of peace." Qurei, contrary to Olmert's announcement, called for a clear timetable to be set for the process.